A Tribute to Bobby Allison
Topics: Bobby Allison
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama
Remarks as published in the Congressional Record
June 28, 2011
Washington D.C., USA
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, it is with great pride that I recognize racing legend Robert ??Bobby?? Arthur Allison upon his induction into the second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Bobby is a founding member of the ??Alabama Gang?? and one of the greatest drivers of NASCAR?s modern era. NASCAR is the most popular and competitive racing organization in the United States, and its premier league, the Sprint Cup Series, draws thousands of fans to each of its 36 races. Last year, NASCAR opened the NASCAR Hall of Fame to honor the sport?s greatest contributors, inducting Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Bill France, Sr., and Bill France, Jr. In the second class of inductees, Bobby, along with racing greats Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, and Lee Petty, and team owner Bud Moore, joined these elite racers in receiving one of the sport?s highest honors.
Bobby Allison entered his first race while he was still a high school student in southern Florida, needing written permission from his mother to compete. Seizing the opportunity to race competitively, he and his brother, Donnie, left Florida along with fellow racer Red Farmer, and settled in Hueytown, AL. These three young men became known as the ??Alabama Gang,?? a racing fraternity that would later include Bobby?s son Davey Allison and NASCAR star Neil Bonnett.
After his relocation to Alabama, Bobby garnered tremendous success on the track, winning NASCAR Modified Special Division titles in 1962 and 1963. He followed this success with consecutive NASCAR Modified Division championships in 1964 and 1965. Bobby competed in his first Sprint Cup Series race at the 1961 Daytona 500, and achieved his first Sprint Cup win 5 years later, at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine in 1966. In his 25-year Sprint Cup career, Bobby won 83 additional races, including three Daytona 500 triumphs and four victories at Talladega Superspeedway. He is tied with Darrell Waltrip for the third most wins in Sprint Cup history. Mr. Allison is also a five-time Sprint Cup Series runner-up, winning the Cup once in 1983, when it was still known as the Winston Cup. His final win was a thrilling father-son performance at the 1988 Daytona 500, where he and his son Davey finished first and second place, respectively.
Despite his great successes, Bobby?s life has included tragedy. His racing career was cut short by injuries sustained during a severe crash at Pocono Raceway months after his final win at Daytona. In 1992, his youngest son Clifford was killed while practicing for a race at Michigan International Speedway. A few months later, his older son Davey Allison was killed in a helicopter crash at Talladega.
Through both success and sorrow, Bobby has displayed remarkable perseverance and resilience. He is known and respected all around the world and many of my fellow Senators have been generous in their praise in this indomitable racer. Senator JOHN MCCAIN, a friend and admirer, said, ??I couldn?t be prouder of Bobby. He is an inspiration for all of us.?? Senator JON KYL, a NASCAR enthusiast, noted that the Phoenix International Raceway named a grandstand for Bobby and declared, ??The Hall of Fame did well to recognize Bobby in its second class. He is a NASCAR legend.??
Bobby and his wife Judy still reside in Hueytown, AL, and his two daughters, Bonnie Allison-Farr, and Carrie Allison, live with their families nearby. Selected as one of ??The 50 Greatest NASCAR Drivers of All Time,?? Bobby remains one of NASCAR?s most respected competitors. A truly great Alabamian, Bobby has never forgotten his roots, and he will always be remembered not just as a racer, but as a beloved citizen of our State. It truly is a privilege to honor Bobby Allison not only for his tremendous success in racing?s most competitive league, but also for his contributions to both NASCAR and the State of Alabama.
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