KINGSPORT, Tenn. – official track release — Randall Perry photo —
Robbie Allison, son of late NASCAR driver Davey Allison, made his stock car racing debut in Saturday’s season opener at Kingsport Speedway with a crowd-pleasing victory.
Allison qualified second, but the inversion of the top-two placed him on point for the Pure Street race. Allison swapped the lead multiple times with Brad Ball in the 20-lap feature.
Allison overcame his fair share of adversity in the season opening race. Spinning twice, on lap three and again on lap 13, Allison was able to remain in contention.
Allison’s big break came late in the race when leader Ball slowed entering Turn 3 with mechanical issues, later diagnosed as brake problems. With Ball forced to the pit area, Allison took over the lead and drove on to claim the checkered flag.
Allison had a familiar face watching his debut race from atop the grandstands. Allison’s grandfather, 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Bobby Allison was on hand Saturday. The NASCAR Hall of Fame driver was proud of his grandson’s performance and said that the spins are all part of learning.
“The spins are experience he can gain and grow by,” Bobby Allison said in an interview with Johnson City Press. “For him to spin, but then go on to do what he was supposed to do, I thought it was great.”
Allison didn’t just show up and race though. He and car owner Duke Bare placed several hours of hard work into preparing his machine for battle in advance of Saturday’s race.
“We spent about 30 or 40 hours over a handful of days getting the car ready and putting it where it needed to be,” Allison said.
Allison also spoke on the handling of his race car and his race-long battle with Brad Ball.
“It was a lot of fun,” Allison said regarding the race. “[The car] was a lot looser than what I would have liked it to be. But being able to run up front with Brad [Ball] all day was fun.”
Despite the excitement of Saturday’s victory, the greatest part of the 23-year-old’s day was having his grandparents alongside.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Allison remarked. “The highlight of my day was being there with my grandfather and grandmother. Seeing them there and how much it meant to them meant the world to me.”
Allison will return to the track this Saturday, March 28 at Kingsport Speedway.
CREDIT: Chase Brashears/Kingsport Speedway