Bobby Allison Once Alleged Darrell Waltrip “Got Away With Murder, Race After Race,” Considered Him a Joe Frasson Equivalent for NASCAR Wins

Published 12/11/2022, 10:57 AM EST

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Elite sports are cutthroat. No sportsperson can hope to be the best if they are not ready to be brutal and ruthless. And if elite sports are cutthroat, NASCAR is a step above—it’s a dog-eat-dog world. What many wouldn’t remember is the state of NASCAR when one of its greatest drivers, Bobby Allison, raced.

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Unfortunately for him, and the NASCAR fraternity, his career was cut short by an accident that left him for the worse. An old interview with Bobby Allison from 1997 showed the extent of his rivalry with Darrell Waltrip, another NASCAR great. He made some major allegations against his rival.

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“For career wins, I am tied with a man who will probably break the tie. But if Darrell would only give back all the wins he got illegally, then he would be tied with Joe Frasson for career wins.” 

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For those who are unaware, Joe Frasson’s best finish in a NASCAR race was 22nd. When quizzed about the word “illegally,” Allison remarked, “Big fuel tanks, wrong-size engines, wrong tires, you name it. He just got away with murder, race after race.”

Allison’s salvo, however, didn’t perturb Waltrip at all. The former Hendrick Motorsports driver laughed off the allegations and countered, “Bobby’s a lot smarter than me. Just ask him. So if I thought of that many ways to win races illegally, how many do you think he thought of?” 

“For every race I won illegally, he won one more. Seriously, though, do you think NASCAR would let that happen, race after race?” 

At the end of it all, both drivers remained tied on 84 wins.

Bobby Allison and his struggle with paranoia

Bobby Allison may have his name up with the likes of Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon, as he is 4th (tied) on the list of drivers with the most wins. But as good as the 85-year-old was behind the steering wheel, he just wouldn’t believe that there were people who could beat him.

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Donnie Allison, his brother and a NASCAR driver himself, admitted, “One of Bobby’s downfalls was that he was paranoid. No matter how well he was doing, he thought everybody was against him. Particularly NASCAR–the officials. I honestly believe Bobby felt that nobody could beat him legally. I never heard him say, ‘I got beat.’ He always thought he was outcheated, or whatever. It became an obsession with him. And it’s a sore spot with him today. Right now.”

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Elite athletes are like that. One must believe they are the best in order to beat the best and actually scale the highest peaks of some of the toughest sports. NASCAR is one such sport—it exerts drivers to their limits. Solely for this reason, they can be excused for getting a bit paranoid at times. Unfortunately, it might have been the undoing of Bobby Allison’s career.

Waltrip revealed to the interviewer, “Before the race started, some of the guys who worked on Bobby’s crew came up to me. They said, ‘Please watch out for Bobby. He’s had a terrible week, and he’s crazy. He says he’s gonna wreck you, and he’s gonna wreck you big.’”

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Watch This Story: Bubba Wallace on “The Biggest Challenge” which left NASCAR to question him, “‘Hey, you’re serious about this?’”

This was the race that changed Bobby’s life. Pocono 1988 became his undoing. Allison’s story is one of the saddest NASCAR has witnessed. A man of his potential could have achieved a lot more, if not for that fateful night.

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Written by:

Abhay Tyagi

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Abhay Tyagi is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. Although he has completed his undergrad in Law and Management, he has always been eager to venture into the exciting field of sports journalism. With a special affinity for Engineering and Speed, Abhay has always found the world of Formula 1 quite exhilarating.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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