Twice in the last three years, current NASCAR drivers have participated in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” A.J. Allmedinger finished seventh in the 2013 race and Kurt Busch sixth in 2014. It’s not common to see drivers attempt “The Double” anymore, but in the past, NASCAR drivers could attempt the 500, before it was on the same day as a NASCAR race.
Bobby Allison is a NASCAR legend, winning 84 races (including the Daytona 500 three times) and both the Winston Cup and IROC championships. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998 and was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. I could go on, but I believe you get the point.
What you are less likely to know is that he competed in both the 1973 and 1975 Indianapolis 500 races. Due to some circumstances out of his control, the results weren’t what you would expect out of a legendary driver.
“My Indy deal was not really very good,” Allison said. “Donnie’s was great, and mine was just the opposite. The first time there I blew up on the pace lap. That was a heartbreak, especially after devoting a month to it and missing three NASCAR races to get the preparation done. Two years later, Roger Penske begged me to go on back, and I gave it another try. I actually led the 23rd lap in 1975, but then the car had all kinds of problems. It got a lap down from a bad fuel leak and I was getting my lap back at halfway, and then the engine blew up again.”
My collection of autographs of Indianapolis 500 drivers is pretty limited. I’m probably around 50 different ones, but most of those are from one race. I have an autographed poster of all of the 2011 drivers except Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves.
For many reasons I wanted to add a Bobby Allison to the collection. I realized after I picked this up, that I already did have one. Hey, who’s going to complain, though?
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