Davey Allison’s father, Bobby Allison, reminisced about driving around the south in 1959, looking for tracks, and being told to go to Alabama. He said he passed through Talladega then before going on to Birmingham and Montgomery. “We made lifetime friends, and Davey enjoyed being part of that,” he said. “We went all over the Southeast, took people’s money, and brought it back to Alabama. Davey was a delight from the time he was a youngster, and as he grew, he became one of the greatest of all time.”
Davey’s daughter Krista spoke next, at the request of her mother. “Thank you for being here and making this possible,” she said. “This means a lot to us, to my family. Talladega was different for me when I was younger, but now being here warms my heart and makes me feel welcome. I also want to congratulate Jeff.”
Her brother Robby added thanks to all of the fans that had shown support to the family over the years.
Burton, this year’s inductee, said “This isn’t about me; it’s about this facility. It’s something that brings out Boy Scouts, cheerleaders, community leaders and visitors to honor one of the greatest. He never got to show us how really great he was.”
Today’s drivers, he continued, are “prima donnas next to what they (the Alabama Gang) were. What we do is a lot easier because of them, and Davey was a huge part of that.”
Burton then told two stories about Allison, who by his own admission he did not know well. When he won his first big race, at his home track, Allison was the first to congratulate him, not because the two drivers were close, but because he recognized a young driver and the importance of his first major victory.
The second story involved a race where Burton wrecked his car during qualifying, and backup cars were not allowed.
“I was at the hotel room and the phone rang. I don’t know how he tracked me down, but he said he knew I was racing for points, and asked me if I wanted to drive his car.”
Allison also pointed out that he had recently sold the car, so Burton had to be careful not to wreck. When Burton was getting fitted into the car, he said, Allison pointed out the buyers. “No pressure there,” he said.
Burton’s wife, Kim, also talked about how Allison had comforted her early on, especially after her husband had blown an engine.
Contact Chris Norwood at email@example.com.