Time Capsule Tuesday - The Allisons

March 1, 2016

Team Penske will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in motorsports in 2016. To bring you some of the terrific stories of our five-decade run of excellence, Team Penske is running weekly online features highlighting some of our drivers and our key events. We hope you enjoy this memorable time in our history.

The Allisons

If you know anything about the rich history of stock car racing, you know about the “Alabama Gang.”  The Alabama Gang was a group of drivers, all hailing from the state of Alabama, that took the racing world by storm in the 70s and 80s with their skill on the track. 

The original cast consisted of brothers Bobby and Donnie Allison, along with their friend Red Farmer.  While others over the years were also considered part of the Alabama Gang – including Bobby’s son Davey Allison – it was the Allison Brothers, Farmer and Neil Bonnett that made the group famous.

And Team Penske has a history with the Alabama Gang.  Both Bobby and Donnie raced for “The Captain” at some point during their careers.

Donnie was actually the first to make a start for Team Penske.  Donnie made one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (then Winston Cup) start for Team Penske in the 1972 Golden State 400 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. After posting a sixth-place starting position in the AMC Matador, Allison worked his way up through the field to finish third behind Ray Elder and Benny Parsons.

His brother Bobby, a NASCAR Hall of Fame member, had a more-distinguished career with Penske, running with the team between 1973 and 1976. 

Bobby made 66 combined starts for Penske during his four-year stint with the team. This included 59 starts in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition with a total of four victories in the AMC Matador sponsored by Coca-Cola. Those wins came at Ontario in 1974, along with three wins in 1975 – Riverside and a sweep of both Darlington races, including the 1975 Southern 500.

In addition, he scored one win in USAC Stock Car competition for Team Penske at Texas World Speedway in 1976.

However, in addition to his stock car success with Team Penske, Bobby also joined the long list of drivers who also raced in the Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske.  Primarily stock car driver, Bobby was interested to see how the INDYCAR drivers made a living and if he could adapt to the different cars.

Bobby made six INDYCAR (under the AAA/USAC banner) starts for Team Penske between 1973 and 1975.  Bobby competed in two Indy 500s, with his best finish coming in 1975, when he finished 25th. 

His best INDYCAR finish came at the second race of the 1975 season, when he finished sixth in Ontario.