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Day 7: Donnie Allison talks Alabama Gang rebirth
Justin Allison , 21, 'has the most talent of any Allison'
Judy Allison , wife of Bobby Allison , passes away
Judy Allison , wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison , died Friday following complications from surgery, the Allison family announced. She was 74. The Allisons released a statement Friday night: "The Allison Family is sad to announce the passing of Judy A. Allison , age 74, after complications from surgery earlier today at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville. "Bobby Allison , NASCAR Hall of Famer driver, and Judy were married for 55 years. She was surrounded by her family, daughters Bonnie Farr and Carrie Hewitt, grandson Robbie Allison , brother-in-law Donnie Allison and his wife, Pat. "At this time, funeral and memorial arrangements are pending and will be announced when finalized. The family members ask for privacy during this difficult and sad time." NASCAR also issued a statement on Judy Allison's passing. It reads: "NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Judy Allison , the wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison . Judy, the matriarch of a cornerstone NASCAR family, provided the foundation for the careers of a legendary husband and two sons who both lost their lives entirely too soon. Her love extended well beyond her own family, as many in the NASCAR family leaned upon Judy for support and compassion during many difficult times. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend, and a woman who has given much to our sport." Bobby Allison won 84 premier series races during his NASCAR career. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2011.
NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Glory Road honors Davey Allison
Friday morning the NASCAR Hall of Fame unveiled its brand new set of Glory Road cars. The exhibit, which opens to the public on Saturday, January 7th, also honors the late Davey Allison .
Johnson wins NMPA Richard Petty Driver of the Year
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Jimmie Johnson , who won a record-tying seventh NASCAR championship this past season, has been voted the winner of the 2016 Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award presented by the National Motorsports Press Association. Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports , was named on 62 percent of the ballots cast for the award of the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ), Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart ( Stewart-Haas Racing ) and Joey Logano ( Team Penske ). Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Johnson are the only NASCAR drivers to win seven titles in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . The announcement was made during the NMPA's annual Convention and Awards Dinner held in Concord, North Carolina. It marks the seventh time Johnson, 41, has received the Driver of the Year honor. He also won the award in 2004, '06, '07, '09, '10, and '13. Johnson won five races in 2016, including the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway that clinched his seventh championship. He ended the year with 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 36 races. The award is named in honor of Petty, NASCAR's win leader in its top series with 200 victories. It has been presented annually by the NMPA since 1969. Twenty-three different drivers have won the award since its inception. Other awards: Veteran motorsports journalist Al Pearce was named the 2016 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Pocono Spirit Award. Pearce raised more than $13,000 through the auction of a racing helmet bearing the signatures of the 20 living World Driving Champions as well as those of Phil Hill and Sir Jack Brabham prior their passing. Proceeds from the project, which took nearly four years to complete, went to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. ... Veteran public relations representative Dave Ferroni was named the 2016 recipient of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award. Ferroni has been involved in various forms of auto racing for more than 30 years. His company, DMF Communications, currently handles public relations for Furniture Row Racing and driver Martin Truex, Jr. in NASCAR's premier series. ... ESPN.com motorsports writer Bob Pockrass was named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Joe Littlejohn Award for 2016. The award is named after the former track owner from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and is presented annually by the NMPA in recognition for outstanding service to the organization. Pockrass recently completed his eighth year as secretary treasurer for the NMPA. Richard Petty Driver of the Year Determined by vote of the membership, the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize the season's most outstanding driver. It is named in honor of the seven-time NASCAR premier series champion: 2016, Jimmie Johnson ; 2015, Kyle Busch ; 2014, Kevin Harvick ; 2013, Jimmie Johnson ; 2012, Brad Keselowski ; 2011, Tony Stewart ; 2010, Jimmie Johnson ; 2009, Jimmie Johnson ; 2008, Carl Edwards ; 2007, Jimmie Johnson ; 2006, Jimmie Johnson ; 2005, Tony Stewart ; 2004, Jimmie Johnson ; 2003, Ryan Newman ; 2002, Tony Stewart ; 2001, Kevin Harvick ; 2000, Bobby Labonte ; 1999, Dale Jarrett; 1998, Jeff Gordon ; 1997, Dale Jarrett; 1996, Terry Labonte ; 1995, Jeff Gordon ; 1994, Dale Earnhardt; 1993, Rusty Wallace; 1992, Davey Allison ; 1991, Harry Gant; 1990, Dale Earnhardt; 1989, Mark Martin; 1988, Rusty Wallace; 1987, Dale Earnhardt; 1986, Tim Richmond and Dale Earnhardt; 1985, Bill Elliott ; 1984, Terry Labonte ; 1983, Bobby Allison ; 1982, Darrell Waltrip; 1981, Darrell Waltrip; 1980 Dale Earnhardt; 1979 Cale Yarborough; 1978 Cale Yarborough; 1977, Cale Yarborough; 1976, Darrell Waltrip; 1975, Richard Petty; 1974, Richard Petty; 1973, David Pearson; 1972, Bobby Allison ; 1971, Bobby Allison ; 1970, Bobby Isaac; 1969, LeeRoy Yarbrough.
Dale Jr. watches dad's Monte Carlo take a lap; more from 'Dega trip
RELATED: See Dale Jr.'s day at Talladega Six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . visited one of his favorite tracks Thursday for an action-packed day of greeting fans, mingling with the Alabama Gang, assisting the track with its landscaping duties and watching his father's No. 2 Chevrolet take a lap around the superspeedway. The Hendrick Motorsports wheelman, sidelined for the rest of the season by concussion-like symptoms, was welcomed by Alabama Gang members Bobby Allison , Donnie Allison and short-track legend Red Farmer as an honorary member of the group. The Alabama Gang, with deep roots in stock-car racing's early days, was the nickname earned by a group of notable NASCAR drivers -- the Allisons, Neil Bonnett, and Farmer among them -- with ties to the state. Talladega's back straightaway was named "The Alabama Gang Superstretch" in their honor in the spring of 2014. Although Dale Earnhardt was not a part of the group, he remained great friends with the drivers -- especially Bonnett, a fellow outdoorsman. The group paid tribute to the first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee as Donnie Allison wheeled Earnhardt's famous No. 2 Monte Carlo around the 2.66-mile track. See glimpses from Dale Jr.'s day. We have a VERY special guest with us today surprising some awesome fans! Welcome back to 'Dega, @DaleJr ! pic.twitter.com/ibtEQnnAJ6 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 . @DaleJr doing some track landscaping and surprising fans at @TalladegaSuperS . #NW88JR pic.twitter.com/ptrIfuXW8y — Nationwide 88 (@nationwide88) September 29, 2016 We have some REALLY cool stuff coming up with @DaleJr and the famed #AlabamaGang ! Keep an eye on Periscope & Facebook Live! pic.twitter.com/fT05pKOgrN — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Donnie , Bobby and Red welcome @DaleJr as an OFFICIAL Honorary Member of the #AlabamaGang ! pic.twitter.com/JjCPAt99FJ — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Dale Sr.'s No. 2 Monte Carlo rides again with Donnie Allison at the wheel! #AlabamaGang https://t.co/HeBNAtQWh8 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) September 29, 2016 Good times today @TalladegaSuperS promoting the race with the Alabama Gang. Tickets are on sale for the race on October 23rd. pic.twitter.com/vm6OZFTslx — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 I remember this old thing. @TalladegaSuperS Hall of Fame. The carpet is teal, I kid you not. Great choice pops. pic.twitter.com/UMn4RAe34L — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 How cool to rename the MRN booth @TalladegaSuperS in honor of Barney Hall! pic.twitter.com/7u24pIDUnM — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 29, 2016 </p>
Stewart preps for relief driver switch at Talladega
RELATED: Weekend schedule " Dillon ready for action TALLADEGA, Ala. -- A week after returning to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, Tony Stewart becomes a start-and-park driver. In a manner of speaking. Start-and-watch might be more appropriate. The three-time premier series champion missed the season's first eight points races after suffering a back injury during the offseason. RELATED: Full timeline of Stewart's injury, comeback Stewart is scheduled to start his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway before turning over the wheel to XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon . It's an infrequent turn of events, but something that does happen from time to time in NASCAR. Last season, Erik Jones stepped in for Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway after the Joe Gibbs Racing driver developed a neck spasm during a rain delay. Jones finished 26th. Hamlin was also involved in a driver swap at Talladega in 2013. Injured in an accident at Auto Club Speedway , Hamlin started the Aaron's 499 but eventually gave up the seat to Brian Vickers . J.J. Yeley replaced Bill Elliott during a race here in 2011; he also replaced Stewart in '08 during the summer race at Daytona. Stewart, speaking to the media Friday at Talladega, said he expects to do "what I always do around here at the beginning of the race … just ride around in the back until we get to the first caution." It won't be "glamorous," he said, but it meets his doctors' request. Well, almost. According to Stewart, his doctors didn't want him competing at all this weekend. "We need the points and so we talked them into letting us to at least start the race," said Stewart, who sits 101 points out of 30th. MORE: Standings pre-Talladega "I told them it normally doesn't go more than two or three laps at the beginning of the race before a caution. It might go 82 or 83 laps, who knows? But, we'll run until it gets there." Unofficially, the last time a relief driver won a NASCAR premier series race was 1977, and it occurred at Talladega as well. Donnie Allison started what was then a July race but eventually turned the driving over to Darrell Waltrip due to illness. Waltrip replaced Allison with 23 laps remaining and took the lead with six to go when race leader Skip Manning's car suffered mechanical problems. According to NASCAR rules, points earned by an entry are awarded to the driver starting the race, meaning Stewart will be credited with those earned Sunday by Dillon.
Junior becomes an honorary member of the 'Alabama Gang'
Members of the 'Alabama Gang', Donnie Allison , Bobby Allison and Red Farmer, make Dale Earnhardt Jr. an official member during a ceremony at Talladega Superspeedway.
High 5: The Sheriff, girl power & The Alabama Gang
Editor's note: High 5 analyzes what's trending in NASCAR and beyond every week. QUOTE OF THE WEEK "You would have been as hated as me, maybe more!" -- Joey Logano jokes with Ryan Blaney , after Blaney said he was worried about hitting Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 at Las Vegas. WATCH: Logano, Blaney joke after near-wreck with Junior BEYOND LEFT TURNS The story It seemed as though the entire United States was tuned in to Peyton Manning's press conference on Monday, as the 18-year veteran quarterback announced his retirement from the NFL. Manning won his final Super Bowl in February, leading his Denver Broncos to victory over the Carolina Panthers. He said it "I've fought a good fight, I've finished my football race," an emotional Manning said in Monday's press conference. "And after 18 years, it's time. God bless all of you and God bless football." The reaction Social media flooded with remarks and tributes to the quarterback Monday. Jeff Gordon , who was in a similar position to Manning in January 2015 when he announced his own retirement from his legendary career, was among those who responded. Huge congrats on an amazing 18 year career Peyton Manning! What a way to go out. On top! — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) March 7, 2016 RELATED: Manning makes cameo in 'Casm's version of Keselowski's post-Vegas Facebook page EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT ... Dust storms. Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway seemed more like Kansas in "The Wizard of Oz," as wacky weather in the form of rain, intense wind and even dust storms impacted the race. Related: 'Wild West' race at Vegas NCAA tournament. Forget sunny weather and springtime -- the real star of March is March Madness. With the Kansas Jayhawks still atop the rankings, conference championships unfold this week in preparation for the beginning of the NCAA tournament next week. Get your brackets ready! International Women's Day. Tuesday's International Women's Day took the Internet by a storm, as millions shared the empowering ladies in their lives and celebrated the strides women have made over the years. March also is Women's Appreciation Month. Tune in March 21-25, as NASCAR.com celebrates important women in racing. Harry Potter. The chair that author J.K. Rowling sat in to write the first two books of the wildly popular Harry Potter series is up for sale. Opening bid? A cool $45,000. COMING UP IN TURN 2 The West Coast Swing continues this weekend, as the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series head to Phoenix International Raceway . Will Phoenix pro Kevin Harvick be able to defend his reigning race winner title? Tune in Sunday to find out. RELATED: Complete schedule for Phoenix HOT OFF THE PRESS 'The Alabama Gang' -- comprised of Alabama natives Bobby Allison , Donnie Allison and Red Farmer -- have always been revered and celebrated in the sport of stock car racing. "When 'The Alabama Gang' came in town back in the day, it made an entrance," Duane Rankin wrote in a recent "Montgomery Advertiser" article. Read more about how this famed group came to be.
Darrell Gwynn rallies support for Tony Stewart
RELATED: Full coverage of Stewart's ATV accident DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Darrell Gwynn is a frequent and popular visitor inside the Daytona International Speedway NASCAR garage. He was there Friday morning, making the rounds, shaking hands and enjoying the friendly faces. The former NHRA superstar organizes the annual Hot Rods and Reels fishing tournament on Daytona's famed infield Lake Lloyd during the Daytona 500 Speedweeks. And hours earlier he hosted current and former NASCAR drivers such as Ryan Newman and Martin Truex, Bobby and Donnie Allison , Dave and Ryan Blaney in the fundraiser -- the money goes to the Darrell Gwynn Chapter of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. One of Gwynn's longtime and dearest supporters, however, Tony Stewart , couldn't participate in the fishing tournament this year because he's in North Carolina recovering from a broken L1 vertebrae in his back – the result of an all-terrain vehicle accident suffered just weeks before Speedweeks. And his presence was dearly missed. Gwynn's motorhome, which sits on the lake shore, sported a 40-foot long banner attached to the outside with a message to his longtime friend Stewart: "Smoke Will Rise Again, We Love You Buddy." RELATED: 'Smoke' radios Vickers: 'If you need me, I'm here' As Gwynn's large gesture demonstrates, Stewart is on everybody's mind. "I remember when I got hurt," explained Gwynn, who has used a wheelchair since suffering serious injuries in a 1990 drag race. "I remember seeing people holding up the posters for me, the bed sheets with messages in the grandstands. I just started thinking, what if there wasn't all that stuff? People really went out of their way to show they care. "There isn't much we can really do for Tony Stewart , but we can show we care." The fishing tournament is something close to his longtime friend, Stewart's heart – the event a must-do; the notorious late-riser has made a point to participate in for years. And that commitment has meant so much to Gwynn. "I just want to show how much we care and love him," Gwynn said.
Kraft's Korner: The Daytona 500 and the Super Bowl
RELATED: Drivers make their picks for the big game Super Bowl 50 is this Sunday with the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos squaring off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the National Football League championship. The game is the culmination of the entire NFL season and is the sport's biggest event. Similarily, the Daytona 500 is the biggest event in NASCAR and the "Great American Race" serves as the start to the entire Sprint Cup Series season. Interestingly enough, the Daytona 500 is eight years older than the Super Bowl, with the event's first run coming in 1959, whereas the first Super Bowl was played in 1967. Last year's Daytona 500 saw Joey Logano take the victory over Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr . Weeks earlier, the New England Patriots knocked off the Seattle Seahawks to take home Super Bowl XLIX, thanks to a game-clinching interception on the goal line with 20 seconds left that was a top moment in its own right. RELATED: @nascarcasm's Madden ratings for drivers Winning a Daytona 500 carries with it plenty of prestige and a likely spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. Winning a Super Bowl carries with it plenty of prestige as well. Not to mention the fun that is had away from the game with a memorable melange of television advertisements and a big halftime musical performance. So with that in mind and both events coming up, we examine the top moments from each. Top Super Bowl moments 4. Joe Montana leads the San Francisco 49ers to a game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals. He finds John Taylor open in the end zone for the game-winning score with 34 seconds left and a 20-16 win. See Montana's final drive here . 3. Trailing the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV, Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly engineers a drive to get into field-goal range for the win. However, Scott Norwood misses the 47-yard field goal as Buffalo loses 20-19 and suffers the first of four straight Super Bowl defeats. See the ending here . 2. New York Jets quarterback "Broadway" Joe Namath guarantees victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Namath leads the Jets to the only Super Bowl win in franchise history thus far, a 16-7 win. See highlights of the game here . 1. The undefeated New England Patriots have their eyes on a perfect 19-0 season, but Eli Manning and the New York Giants stand in their way in Super Bowl XLII. Manning leads the Giants on a game-winning drive that includes a miraculous catch by David Tyree en route to a 17-14 win. See the highlights of the game here . Top Daytona 500 moments 4. In the 1976 Daytona 500 , Richard Petty and David Pearson battle for the win on the final lap. Contact occurs as the two come off of Turn 4, and both cars spin into the infield. Pearson is able to get his car across the finish line for the win, while Petty can't get his engine to restart and finishes in second. 3. The first Daytona 500 in 1959 produces a photo finish between Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp. The on-the-spot unofficial decision goes to Beauchamp, but after three days spent examining the photos, NASCAR reverses its decision and gives the victory to Petty by a margin of less than a yard. 2. The 1979 Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR event to be broadcast live flag-to-flag. On a battle for the lead on the final lap, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison crash side-by-side into the Turn 3 wall. A fight breaks out between the two drivers, while Richard Petty goes on to win the race. 1. For years, this was the race that was Dale Earnhardt's kryptonite. "The Intimidator" captures the 1998 Daytona 500 (his 20th try at it) and is congratulated by every crew on the edge of pit lane as he makes his way to Victory Lane.