NASCAR’s infamous Alabama Gang will ride again – and at Daytona, to boot.
Justin Allison, grandson of former NASCAR star Donnie Allison and grand-nephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, will become the third generation of Allisons to take to Daytona International Speedway’s high banks this Saturday.
He’ll compete in the 51st ARCA race at DIS, the Lucas Oil 200 presented MAVTV American Real, prior to NASCAR’s running of the Sprint Unlimited.
A cousin to the late Davey and Clifford Allison (Bobby’s sons), this will be the second career ARCA race for Justin, who started and finished 11th in his series debut last fall at Kansas Speedway.
Admittedly, having such a famous surname adds pressure, just as if his last name was Petty, Earnhardt or Jarrett. The 21-year-old Salisbury, N.C., resident is ready for the pressure, he said in a story at ARCARacing.com.
“There’s always pressure there regardless of your last name,” Justin said, adding, “I really don’t let it bother me. I just do my thing and try to block out the unwanted pressure.”
Justin has some big family shoes to fill. Davey Allison was the 1984 ARCA Rookie of the Year, won eight of 40 career ARCA Racing Series starts from 1980 through 1986, finished second in the 1984 standings and third in 1985.
Davey’s younger brother Clifford made 12 ARCA career starts from1988 through 1992, with a best of runner-up finishes at both the formidable Michigan Int’l Speedway and Pocono Raceway in 1992.
Davey and father Bobby Allison both won the Daytona 500 in their careers.
And now, even though he’s a rookie, Justin feels it’s his turn to carry on the Allison family tradition and win at Daytona.
“Our goal is to win it,” he said. “Obviously, we have to run the whole race to accomplish that, and I know I’ve got a lot to learn out there.
“I’m really looking forward to the experience, but if we’re there at the end, our goal should be nothing short of winning it. That’s why we do this.”
Saturday’s race will be the first of at least 10 ARCA events Allison plans to compete in for Team BCR. He’ll be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Havaco-Multi Services Ford, powered by a Roush Yates motor.
The younger Allison has received extensive coaching and advice from grandfather Donnie, who won 10 Sprint Cup races in his career, including the 1970 Firecracker 400 and the 1970 World 600, and had career-best finishes of third and fourth in the Daytona 500.
“He’s (Donnie Allison) always giving me advice,” Justin said. “He pretty much told me that you really have to pay attention at (Daytona) more so than the rest. He’s given me a lot of great advice. With all the experience he has in stock cars, there isn’t a paper big enough for all the advice he’s got.”
Justin learned the nuances of Daytona during ARCA’s open test there in December.
What was the biggest thing he took away from that test?
“Just pretty much hold it to the floor and turn left.”
Spoken like a true racer – and a true Allison, as well.