This is the first installment of my impressions of some of the newest nominees for NASCAR's Hall of Fame. As a kid growing up in the 60's and 70's , these are people who I viewed as a young NASCAR fan and, later, as a photojournalist covering the sport.
As I grew up following NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Florida in the 1960's I had no shortage of heros in the sport. There was Cale Yrborough, who was always a fovorite of my dad, there was Richard Petty, who almost everyone loved (I remember watching the grandstands empty at one late '60's Daytona 500 after Petty had blown his engine mid-way through the event), and then there was Bobby Allison, who I kind of viewed as a hard-working everyman. It was hard for me to root agaiinst Allison. I remember going to church with my family at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Daytona the morning of the 500 and seeing Bobby with his wife and kids attending mass before heading out to the speedway. That always left a bif impression on me. While he lost some fans through his famous fued with Richard Petty, I was always impressed in his determination to stand up for what he felt was right against event the biggest names int he sport.
As a young photographer I watched him work patiently, yet sternly with his young son as Davey prpared for his first ARCA race at Daytona (driving one of Bobby's old AMC Martadors, no less).
Later I watched Davey visit Bobby in victory lane after his father won races and, conversely, Bobby visit Davey after any of Davey's wins. You can't hide or fae genuine mutual respect between a father and son and I belive that tells a lot about a man.
One of the few Daytona 500's I missed since the mid-60's was the 1988 race when Bobby outraced Davey to victory lane and I've always felt badly about missing that race.
In my view, Bobby Allison is a man who belongs in the NASCAR Hall of Fame on many levels.
To view my ever-growing archive of Bobby Allison editorial stock photography, be sure to visit :