May 23, 2018
Sutton and Seth Sharp
Daytona 500. Pepsi 400. Coca Cola 600. The Winston. To win any one of these races would be a dream come true for most race car drivers. To win them all, unimaginable. But legendary drivers create legendary moments, which turn into legendary careers.
Born February 25, 1961 in Hueytown, Alabama, Davey Allison, the son of a legend, was destined to be a race car driver. When he finally found his way to the sports highest level, he wasted no time making a name for himself. Between 1987 and 1991, Davey won no less than 2 races per season. He earned victories in NASCAR’s biggest races. His Pepsi 400 victory came in 1989. In 1991, he won The Winston and backed that up the following weekend by leading 263/500 laps en-route to his first Coca-Cola 600 victory.
While he ended 1991 an impressive 3rd in the season standings, the best was yet to come as his 1992 season would be one for the ages, but not without adversity and tragedy. Davey started off the year winning the Daytona 500 and promptly led the points standings for the first 15 races of the season. He won The Winston, famously dubbed “One Hot Night”, for the second straight year in spectacular fashion after contact with Kyle Petty sent him hard into the outside wall. He never made it to Victory Lane as he was transported to the hospital. A few weeks later he had a horrific crash at Pocono that saw his car tumble end over end through the infield grass and sending him to the hospital yet again. One month later, his brother Clifford passed away after a crash at Michigan.
After being no worse than second in the standings throughout the year, Davey entered the season ending Hooters 500 at Atlanta with a 30 point lead in the standings and the opportunity to win his first Winston Cup Championship. Unfortunately, he was caught up in an accident and would end up third in the standings.
Gracious as ever, Davey had a thankful and positive outlook when talking about the end to his season, proving why he was such a fan favorite. “We didn’t get it but we’ll just get ready for next year and come out and try again. It just wasn’t meant to be. We appreciate the support that everybody has showed us and the fans have been great. The letters of encouragement, the phone calls have been fantastic and we want to tell everybody that we appreciate that. It just wasn’t our year.”
Entering the 1993 Winston Cup season, Davey was already fifth on the active wins list with 18, trailing four future Hall of Famer’s. The only drivers he trailed at the time were Darrell Waltrip (84 wins), Dale Earnhardt (53), Bill Elliott (39), and Rusty Wallace (21). Each of those drivers had made more starts in their resume than Davey.
The following is a list of just a few of Davey’s impressive stats and achievements.
- Davey currently sits 41st on the all-time list with 19, having added one more victory to his total during the 1993 season. He was 26th all-time in wins when he passed away.
- With a career win percentage of 9.9, Davey sits 23rd on the all time list. He is ahead of many current and future Hall of Fame drivers such as
Kyle Busch (9.7%)
Tony Stewart (7.9%)
Rusty Wallace (7.7%)
Kevin Harvick (6.7%)
Bill Elliott (5.3%)
Dale Jarrett (4.7%)
Mark Martin (4.5%)
Terry Labonte (2.4%)
- Davey has a higher career top 5 percentage (34.5) than Darrell Waltrip (34.1).
- He has a higher career top 10 percentage (48.1) than Junior Johnson (47.2).
- Despite only running the full schedule five times, Davey finished in the top-five in points twice and in those five seasons never came in worse than 13th. His average points finish over those five full seasons was 7.6.
While the heartbreaking end to Davey’s career remains one of the most painful “what ifs” in the sports treasured history, there is no denying his accomplishments. The time has come for Davey Allison and his famed No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford to cross the finish line once more, and take his rightful place as a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.