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“Cale [Yarborough] Hit Bobby [Allison]” – NASCAR Hall of Famer Uncovers 44 Year Old Daytona 500 Truth That Absent Reporters Refused to Accept

Published 01/04/2024, 4:08 PM EST

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The 21st running of The Great American Race saw one of the most controversial endings to a race in the history of NASCAR. ‘The King’ Richard Petty came home to win his sixth Daytona 500 but the main story revolved around three people. Donnie Allison, Bobby Allison, and Cale Yarborough. After Yarborough’s passing on New Year’s Eve, Donnie Allison revealed the details of that altercation and it was completely different from how the media had reported it back then.

Cale Yarborough has gone down as one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time. He was the first to win three consecutive Cup Series championships. The Timmonsville native also won the Daytona 500 four times in his career. However, he was involved in a few infamous NASCAR moments and the 1979 Daytona 500 was one of them.

Was Cale Yarborough the main culprit of the 1979 Daytona 500 fight?

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Everything unfolded on the last lap of that year’s Great American Race. As the white flag fell, Donnie Allison was fighting for a maiden triumph in the iconic event while Yarborough was battling to win his third. As the two drivers were battling for the lead, they made contact and both lost control of their respective cars and crashed out. This paved the way for Richard Petty to take the checkered flag.

As The King drove on to victory lane, there was a full-blown fight on the infield involving the Allison brothers and Yarborough. In a recent interview with SiriusXM Radio, Donnie Allison revealed what exactly happened on that infamous day at the Daytona International Speedway and how it was misrepresented by the mainstream media at the time.

“He kept me from winning the Daytona 500… I’m sitting in the infield wrecked in turn 4 three quarters of a mile from the start/finish line. You see all that stuff in the papers and the stuff about what happened. All the reporters had the wrong idea. I saw a thing in the paper yesterday that stated that we ganged up on him. We didn’t gang up on him,” Allison said. 

“I got out of the car after the wreck and we had a few choice words. And then Bobby showed up and Cale went over and I was standing 20, 25 feet away. And Cale hit Bobby through the window. I ran and grabbed Cale by the arm and I spun him around and said, “You wanna fight? I’m the guy you ought to be fighting with,” the 84-year-old added.

Donnie Allison did not hold back at the reporters who had written the story about how the Allison brothers ganged up on Cale Yarborough at the time. As far as the 84-year-old was concerned, he has been saying the same story from 1979 to anyone who would listen and do away with the misconceptions.

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NASCAR Hall of Famer slams reporters for misrepresenting infamous incident

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Back then, the media did not have the resources it does today. A lot of what was written in the papers was hearsay from people who claimed to be eyewitnesses. So it was not uncommon for stories and incidents to be misrepresented by a misinformed journalist. Donnie Allison did not like one bit about how the fight at Daytona in 1979 was written. He made his thoughts on the matter crystal clear.

“That’s how that actually happened and I don’t care what the reporters write. They weren’t there. They listened to other people’s conversations and I’ve told this story since 1979 and if you go back to what I said then and what I say now, it’s exactly the same. I have not changed one word. That’s the only thing that gets me,” he explained.

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Things have become a lot clearer now but it was not the case back in the day. But then again, these are the stories that are part of what makes NASCAR so intriguing, especially to a younger audience.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Edited by:

Abhishek Ramesh