Time To Right A Wrong

This week, Oscar Pereiro was finally recognized as the winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

More than a year after American Floyd Landis was originally recognized as the winner at the Champs-Elysees in Paris, he was disqualified for a doping violation. Monday, the yellow jersey and trophy were presented to Pereiro.

In track and field, Marion Jones had her three gold and two bronze medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics taken away when she admitted using performance-enhancing drugs. Plans are in the works for the medals to be presented to the deserving recipients from the respective events.

Now, it’s time for NASCAR to right a wrong.

Since Bobby Allison is today's featured guest on the Daytona 500 champion's chat, it got me thinking about one of his pet peeves — a race he was never credited with officially winning.

Back in 1971, Bobby Allison was recognized as the winner of 11 races in NASCAR’s premier division. The 2007 NEXTEL Cup Series media guide lists him as the winner of the August 7, 1971, race in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and has him listed as an 11-time winner in that year’s Driver Performance Chart.

The Stock Car Encyclopedia, co-authored by racing historian Greg Fielden, lists Allison with 11 victories that year, and 85 for his career — third on the all-time ranking. However, in the NASCAR media guide, Allison is only listed with 84 career victories — tied for third with Darrell Waltrip.

The race in question was the 1971 Myers Brother Memorial at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Allison won that race driving a Ford Mustang, followed by the Plymouth of Richard Petty. While Allison got credit for that victory, he was never given credit for a Grand National (now NEXTEL Cup Series) victory in the official records. Petty also was not credited for a Grand National victory that day.

Allison drove one of a handful of cars eligible for NASCAR’s Grand American division (not to be confused with the current Daytona Beach-based sports car sanctioning body), that were eligible to compete in selected premier division races for the first time at Bowman Gray. The two divisions ran together six times that year. In addition to Allison, Tiny Lund won two of the races in a Grand American Chevrolet Camaro.

Allison and Lund were not the only drivers who didn’t receive credit for Grand National victories that year. Ray Elder won the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside that January in a Winston West car — a feat he repeated in June 1972. But while he was not originally credited with Grand National victories for either event, it was reversed in 1976 — when the sanctioning body added the two victories to his Grand National record. In addition, Lund’s official record now shows five victories — including his two from 1971.

Allison’s career came to a near-tragic halt when he suffered critical injuries in a crash at Pocono International Raceway in 1988. That accident left him with permanent gaps in his memory — he doesn’t remember beating his son, Davey, in the 1988 Daytona 500.

About 10 years ago, I asked Allison about the confusion about the Bowman Gray victory while at a dinner at St. Mary of the Lake in Watkins Glen, New York. To say that Allison remembers that event vividly is an understatement. He went through a lap-by-lap description of the race, and questioned why he was never recognized as the winner — especially when Lund got credit for his two victories.

Other sports have taken steps to right wrongs from the past. It’s time for NASCAR to finally give Bobby Allison full credit for a race he won in 1971.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2007

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