Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bobby Allison's Greatest Day. And He Doesn't Remember It.

I am going to quote from a book I recently checked out of the local library. The title is My Greatest Day In Nascar. It's written by Bob McCullough. The book is a series of interviews that Bob had with a lot of current Nascar drivers during the 1999 season. It's a little dated, but for drivers like Bobby Allison, it's great. Bobby hasn't driven a race in a very long time now.

I will now quote what Bobby said about his greatest day in Nascar.

"Well, my day, I have no memory of... My greatest day would have had to have been the 1988 Daytona 500, which I won for the third time at age fifty., with the best young man in racing second behind me. However, a few months later, June 19, 1988, I was injured severely at Pocono... head injury, caused a lot of memory loss. I have zero memory of Daytona 1988... even today. I know it happened, I've got a lot of written stuff and so forth, I've had a tape of the race which I haven't watched in a long time, but even the tape from way back wouldn't do anything for me in terms of helping me remember anything."

"I just accept that I have no memory... They tell me that I won the race, and I've got some written record of having won the race, I've got some pictures of me, and the race team, and the family, and Davey Allison, and victory lane."

"You know, all head injuries are quite different, but traditionally, memory loss and the loss of being able to put things together to support what should be a memory, is fairly common, I guess, with a head injury. And so, what I did early on in my recovery, I said, Okay, I hurt, and I can't remember this, and I can't do some things that I used to do, but I'll try to focus on the positive side and go from there. And that's what I've done."

As a side note, I saw the 1988 Daytona 500, at least what TV showed us at the time. I was cheering on Bobby Allison, and was happy when he won. I also remember that horrible crash at Pocono, and the aftermath. Bobby Allison was on life support for a while, and his recovery was painfully slow. When Bobby finally recovered, he revealed that he basically had lost all memory before his crash. I don't know if that's completely true or not, but I have heard that the first time Davey talked to him in the hospital, Bobby asked "Who are you?"

How sad when a dad doesn't even recognize his own son. Bobby bounced back though, mostly as a team owner. His sons Davey and Clifford died only a few years later. Those events are burned in Bobby Allison's mind forever.

Bobby Allison was a great driver, and still is a great man. My hat is forever off to Bobby Allison and the other men just like him.

Bobby Allison is one of the reasons I'm a true Nascar fan.


  1. Well said Jimmy. The Allison family have given alot to NASCAR. I only wish for Bobby he could have some memories of his great past he enjoyed to help offset some of the tragedy he's endored. He is a true NASCAR legend. 84 wins,400 plus top tens,he is one of the best.

  2. Thanks, 3bud. The Allison family has given more than most to NASCAR, that's a fact. Besides Bobby's terrible accident, they also lost sons Davey and Clifford in a short time. Very tragic, but I'm very glad that Bobby's still around. I hope he'll be around for a long time.


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