MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s a city known for its drivers. No, not the ones cruising on Main Street in Mooresville, but those who take a turn on the tracks.
One of those legends who call Mooresville home is Bobby Allison.
“I didn’t let that break my heart. There’s another race coming, I’ll get it,” Allison said.
Bobby Allison had a decades-long career, centered around one track in particular.
“That’s the best race track in the world,” Allison said.
“I can’t put it into words, but I can sit right here and think of how good it felt to be sitting in that car at Daytona,” Allison said.
Though Allison was in the driver’s seat, his family often came along too. His wife Judy and their kids, Davey, Bonnie, Clifford, and Carrie.
Two of Allison’s kids took after dad.
He has one memory of Davey when he was just a toddler. Allison had stopped at a gas station on the way to a race.
“One of the attendants of somebody said, does he talk? Davey grabbed his little steering wheel and said vroom, vroom,” smiled Allison.
Clifford also took to racing.
“Clifford’s stories were mostly not true, that was okay with Clifford. Actually, it was okay with me too because they were delightful,” laughed Allison.
Though his career would be made up of record-breaking wins, there are some losses so great that he still feels them to this day.
“Racing taught me that you better really be careful because life is dangerous,” said Allison.
In 1988, Allison’s career ended suddenly with a devastating crash.
“The head injury robbed me of an incredible memory. I knew Judy and I knew my kids and my parents, but I didn’t know employees and friends and neighbors,” said Allison.
But the ending of his racing career was nothing compared to the loss of his two sons.
“Horrible, losing those boys,” said Allison.
Clifford died in a racing crash in August of 1992. Less than a year later, Davey, passed away after his helicopter crashed in July of 1993.
“Davey from that big was my sidekick,” remembered Allison.
For all his life, Allison chased those once-in-a-lifetime wins.
“I never quit trying, never quit trying,” said Allison.
Bobby won 84 races, including the Daytona 500 three times.
“Three 500s, I also won three 400s, I won three 300s, and then I won three 150s,” said Allison.
He’s won on almost every single track he’s raced on.
“Today, that track is still there,” said Allison.
The track he never won on…Martinsville Speedway.
“But on a day when I can get all the right stuff together, I just might be able to win Martinsville,” smiled Allison.
In his eyes, a glimmer of a dream not yet lost – and not yet finished.
Bobby Allison was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.