Saturday 25th February 1961
Born on this day, Davey Allison, one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers, who won 19 titles while competing on the Winston Cup tour, including the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing’s (NASCAR’s) 1992 Daytona 500, the sport’s premier race. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1987. Allison was the son of racing legend Bobby, who retired in 1988 after a near-fatal racing accident, and the brother of Clifford, who was killed in August 1992 during a practice run on a racetrack in Brooklyn, Mich. After joining the NASCAR circuit in 1985, Allison soon won eight titles, but he was frustrated by his uneven performances. The turning point in his career came in 1991, when Larry McReynolds became Allison’s team crew chief and helped the headstrong driver curb his intensity and capture the remaining 11 of his titles. During his career Allison won $6,726,974. By his own admission, Allison’s favourite race was the 1988 Daytona 500, when he placed second behind his father. In 1992 Allison sustained a concussion and broke several bones after a crash at a Pennsylvania racetrack. In typical fashion, he returned to racing the following week wearing a special cast that permitted him to operate the steering wheel and gearshift. In that season he had a 30-point lead over his nearest challenger and was poised to take the Winston Cup crown when an accident during the last race of the year dropped him to third in the final rankings. In July Allison was piloting a newly purchased helicopter and was attempting to land at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway when the aircraft crashed on its left side. He died the next day.