MRN Flashback: Controversial Finish In Sonoma

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Davey Allison captured his only road course win in the NASCAR Cup Series in a controversial finish in the 1991 Banquet Frozen Foods 300 at Sears Point International (Infineon) Raceway.

Allison started 14th in the No. 28 Ford and found himself out front with three laps-to-go after passing Tommy Kendall, who was driving for the injured Kyle Petty in the No. 42 Pontiac.

Polesitter Ricky Rudd, who led the opening 11 laps of the 74-lap event, was closing in on Allison as the two were headed to the white flag. But coming out of Turn 11, Rudd (No. 5 Chevrolet) made contact with Allison and sent the No. 28 Ford spinning.

Rudd went on to lead the last lap, but when he crossed the finish line he was shown the black flag instead of the checkered flag. NASCAR deemed Rudd's contact as rough driving and awarded the trophy to Allison.

"I was leading the race going into Turn 11 and I was down there on the inside, protecting the line, but driving straight," Allison said in Victory Lane. "But I wasn't doing anything out of line and the next thing I know someone plowed into the back of me and turned me around. I don't think Ricky did it deliberately, but it was a pretty hard hit and he could have avoided it."

Rudd's crew chief Waddell Wilson was upset with the call.

"I don't understand this," Wilson told MRN after the race. "They told us in the driver's meeting that the last lap you are on your own and Ricky was driving as hard he could hoping to be able to get by the 28, touched him, and now they want to black flag us? This is ridiculous."

Rusty Wallace, who led the most laps with 45, appeared to finish second after the race while the final order was being sorted out. Long after the checkered flag dropped, Rudd was then given a five-second penalty to place Rudd in second and Wallace in third.

Allison's win broke the road course stranglehold by Wallace and Rudd. Both drivers entered the event, having combined to win eight of the previous road course events (Sears Point, Riverside and Watkins Glen) with Wallace taking five of them.

The race saw five cautions with the last coming out on lap 64 when Richard Petty crashed hard into the tire wall after he got a wheel off track and tried to correct it.

Wallace, who was driving a new No. 2 Pontiac, restarted second on the final green flag behind a lapped car of Rick Mast and leader Kendall. But as he was making his charge to the front, Wallace fell back in the pack after his car dropped a cylinder, which put Mark Martin next in line to make a challenge for the lead.

With four laps-to-go Martin caught Kendall and was attempting to pass him when Kendall's Pontiac made contact to send Martin's No. 6 Ford spinning. The end result saw Martin's Ford with extensive damage to the left rear of his car. Martin would be able to hang on for a ninth-place finish. No penalty was issued to Kendall for the contact, but he finished 18th after the incident cut down the left-front tire.

With Kendall's tire going down, Allison took the lead and then, after the NASCAR ruling, scored his 10th of 19 career victories. The win also came after the No. 28 team changed engines prior to the race. The previous time the team had to change a powerplant came two races prior at Charlotte when he dominated the Coca-Cola 600, leading 263 of the 400 laps.

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