GEORGETOWN, DE – A pioneer of NASCAR racing and one of the sport’s most beloved figures, Bobby Allison will serve as the grand marshal for the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial at Georgetown Speedway.
Allison, the 1983 NASCAR Cup Series champion, is scheduled to appear at the Sussex County half-mile oval on March 16, prior to the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series fueled by Sunoco opener.
The event honors Allison’s friend and former car owner Joseph, who passed away in 2005.
The record states that Allison has 84 career victories at NASCAR’s top level. It has been argued that it should be 85, in an intriguing story that involves Joseph’s trademark No. 49.
During the 1971 season, NASCAR was struggling to fill fields in its large 48-event Grand National season, due to reduced funding from the automobile companies in Detroit.
In an effort to attract cars, officials allowed Grand American Series pony cars, such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and AMC Javelin, to compete against the larger Grand National Series cars, including the Chevrolet Chevelle, Ford Torino Talladega, Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird.
On August 6, 1971 at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem, N.C., Allison opted to drive Melvin Joseph’s Grand American 1970 Ford Mustang. Ultimately, Allison crossed the checkered flag first in the Myers Brothers 250 but, since he was not racing in a Grand National car, he never received credit by NASCAR for a win in that series.
Allison remained a close friend of Joseph, the builder of Dover Int’l Speedway in addition to Georgetown, through his passing. To this day, he stays in touch with the Joseph family, often viewing the NASCAR events at Dover from the Melvin L. Joseph Companies suite.
Allison will be available to meet fans in the grandstand from 3-4 p.m. and will offer some memories and thoughts to the crowd prior to the start of racing.
A founding member of the ‘Alabama Gang’ Allison was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.
Along with his ’83 Cup championship, Allison’s 84 victories include three in the Daytona 500. He also won the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on four occasions and took the World 600 (now the Coca-Cola 600) twice.
Always a fan favorite, Allison is a seven-time Most Popular Driver at NASCAR’s top level.