Donnie's Early CareerThe glory days before NASCAR
1938 Chevy Coup
Donnie shown at the Hialeah Speedway in the Kenny Andrews-owned 1938 Chevy Coup in 1960. The car featured a narrowed body, ’38 Chevy chassis and a 6 spline Frankland quick change rear end. The engine was a 310 cubic inch Chevy with 4 Stromberg carburetors. This car is thought to be the area’s first “super modified.” (Photo from the Kenny Andrews Collection courtesy of Marty Little.)
The famed — and feared — Alabama Gang dominated tracks across the Southeast in the early 1960s winning hundreds of races between them and often sweeping the top three places and the purse money that went along with it. Here Donnie (88), Bobby (312) and Red Farmer (F-97) are shown with their cars at Bristol in 1961.
His NASCAR days and moreDonnie had a long, storied career in many forms of racing.
- May 1970
Donnie at Indy
On May 30, 1970, Donnie turned in a record-setting performance as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500. Driving for A.J. Foyt, Donnie started 20th and finished fourth that day, becoming the highest finishing rookie in Indy 500 history and setting a record that stood for 23 years until it was finally broken by Nigel Mansell, who finished third in 1993.
Driving the famous No 21 Wood Brothers Purolator Mercury, Donnie started on the pole of both the Talladega 500 and Winston 500 in 1971. His results in the two races couldn’t have been anymore varied, however, as he won the Winston 500 on May 16, 1971, but finished 41st in the Talladega 500 on Aug. 22, 1971 after blowing an engine.
- November 1978
Dixie 500 fireworks
The Dixie 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Nov. 5, 1978, was memorable not only because it was the last win of Donnie’s Winston Cup career, but because of all the fireworks surrounding it as well. As this image of the story on the race printed in the February 1979 issue of Stock Car Racing magazine shows, there was a huge fire outside the track that required the race be put under caution just a few laps in so that the safety crews could go outside the track to fight it. And at the end Donnie was plenty heated as well when the win was initially awarded to Richard Petty.
- February 1980
Daytona Twin 125 Win
Valentine’s Day 1980 was a great one for the Allison family as Donnie won the second Twin 125 qualifying race at Daytona. Here he gets a big hug from his mom “Kittie” Allison and the Union 76 girls in Victory Lane while car owner Hoss Ellington examines the trophy in the background.
- May 1981
Bad wreck at Charlotte
Donnie’s 1981 season was cut short after only six races after a horrendous crash in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 1981. Donnie was pulled from the No. 77 car unconscious with a badly broken left leg, five broken ribs, a fractured right shoulder blade, a broken cheekbone and a collapsed lung.
Life After RacingDonnie has stayed as busy off the track as he was on it