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Judy Allison
Born:   -  Died: December 19, 2015   -  Home:

Judy Allison, Wife of NASCAR Legend Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, Passes Away at Age 74

The wife of one of NASCAR's most popular race car drivers died unexpectedly on Friday.

Judy Allison passed away after complications from surgery at Iredell Hospital in Statesville, N.C. She was 74.

She was the wife of Bobby Allison, who was voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver six times. He is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 -- 1978, 1982, 1988. He captured the NASCAR Modified Special Division championship in 1962 and 1963 and then went on to win the Modified Division the following two years. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and has more than 600 short-track wins in his career. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.

Bobby Allison, now 78, was involved in one of the scariest and most spectacular crashes in NASCAR history on May 3, 1987. Allison was running fourth in the No. 22 Stavola Brothers Buick on Lap 21 of the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, according to a 2010 Birmingham News story.

While coming through the front-stretch a tire went flat. Allison's car, which had been going more than 200 mph, turned sideways and became airborne. It struck the catch fence, tearing a 150-foot hole in it and scattering debris into the crowd. The race was delayed more than two hours while repairs were made. When it resumed, Allison's son Davey won. The crash prompted NASCAR to require restrictor plates on carburetors at Talladega and Daytona to bring down speeds.

Bobby and brother Donnie, along with Neil Bonnett, Red Farmer, and later, Hut Stricklin, comprised the famous "Alabama Gang" which raced out of Hueytown and made their mark in NASCAR in the 1960s through the 1980s.

But while the family had its share of success, it had more than its share of tragedy -- more than one family should have, according to NASCAR insiders.

Clifford Allison was Allisons' youngest son. On Aug. 13, 1992, at age 27, his racing career was still getting started when he went out for practice in a Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway. He crashed between Turns 3 and 4 and died from his injuries.

Davey Allison, the couple's oldest son, had 19 career Cup wins and had finished third in the standings in 1991 and 1992. On July 12, 1993, Allison was piloting a Hughes 369 HS helicopter with Red Farmer as a passenger on his way to Talladega to watch practice there. While attempting a downwind landing, the helicopter oscillated from side to side, rose about 25 feet, spun and crashed. Davey was flown to Carraway Methodist Hospital, where he died the next day from his injuries. Robert Yates, the owner of Davey's car, was quoted as saying "God has asked an awful lot of this family."

The deaths of sons Davey and Clifford and the death of close friend and "Alabama Gang" member Neil Bonnett at Daytona in 1994 took their toll on Allison's marriage, former Birmingham News racing writer Doug Demmons wrote five years ago. Bobby and Judy Allison soon divorced. Allison had gotten back into racing as a car owner after recovering from his Pocono crash, but Bobby Allison Motorsports struggled financially and eventually shut down in 1996. It was another tragedy that brought Allison and his wife together again. When Adam Petty, the son of Kyle Petty and grandson of Richard, died in a racing accident in May 2000, Bobby and Judy Allison went together to offer their condolences to the Petty family. They remarried in July 2000.

Judy Allison's grandson, Robbie Allison, remembered his grandmother on Twitter tonight. "Anyone who knows me knows she was my special girl,'' Robbie Allison wrote. "I'll never forget our moments together."

 

NASCAR Hall of Fame Statement on the Passing of Judy Allison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 18, 2015) – The following is a brief statement from NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley on the passing of Judy Allison.   

"On behalf of the NASCAR Hall of Fame team, I would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Bobby Allison, daughters Bonnie and Carrie, and the entire Allison family on the passing of Judy Allison. Judy was far more than the matriarch of the Allison family and the famed Alabama Gang, she was the foundation and rock on which their success, perseverance and hard work stood. Judy was the epitome of grace and steadfast support beside Bobby’s stellar career including the 1983 premier series championship and 84 premier series wins, and induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s second class in 2011. Judy exhibited the same grace, along with remarkable resilience and courage, in the face of Bobby’s near fatal and career ending accident in 1988 and later the loss of two sons less than 12 months apart. Judy Allison epitomizes everything good about faith, family and NASCAR. She will be deeply missed, but her memory, impact and incredible legacy will live with us forever. "

 

With his wife, Judy, at his side, Bobby Allison (center) accepts the trophy after winning the ninth Cup race of his career, the Middle Georgia 500 at Middle Georgia Raceway in Macon in November 1957. Allison, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Monday, would go on to win 75 or 76 more Cup races -- depending on who is doing the counting.

The early years, the 50's, and a lot of racing in Hialeah, Florida

 



 

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