TALLADEGA, Ala. – Donnie Allison will lead the field to green in Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s historic No. 2 Chevrolet for Sunday’s Alabama 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race.
The blue and yellow, white numeral machine was driven by Dale Sr. during the 1979 and 1980 MENCS seasons and was presented to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as a retirement gift from the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Talladega Superspeedway on Friday.
“I had some fierce battles on the track with Dale Sr. over the years, so I am honored to drive one of his famous race cars for Dale Jr.’s final race at Talladega,” said Allison. “From helping set the foundation for Dale Jr.’s race career to his final laps at Talladega, this is a moment I will never forget.”
Over the course of 1979-80, Dale Sr. won six races, all of which Allison competed in.
Allison has had a close relationship with Dale Jr. since his youth. In 1992, when Dale Sr. wanted his son to learn the nuts and bolts of how a race car was built from the ground up, he asked him to be his mentor. At just 17 years old, Dale Jr. went to work with Allison Brothers Race Cars in Salisbury, N.C., which built Legends Series race cars.
Over the next six months, Dale Jr. built the foundation of his racing career gaining first-hand knowledge with Donnie along with his sons, Donald, Kenny and Ronald. Dale Jr., a six-time ‘Dega winner, was named an Honorary Member of the famed original Alabama Gang by founding members Bobby & Donnie Allison, and Red Farmer last fall.
“They really taught me everything, as far as the basics from the ground up,” Dale Jr. said of his years working for the Allisons. “I really learned a little bit of everything from those guys, use a torch, learn how to cut and weld. I was able to take that knowledge back to my father and prove that I had what it took to become a driver.”