DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bobby Allison tuned up for today's Daytona 500 Saturday by driving a Buick 300 miles and winning the Goody's 300 Busch Grand National race at the Daytona International Speedway.
The win brought the 51-year-old leader of the Alabama Gang a check for $30,550 and put him in a tie with Cale Yarborough as the winingest driver in Daytona history. Allison's two wins this week--Thursday in a Twin 125 qualifying race and Saturday's 300--gave him 15 wins here, the same as Yarborough.
Allison passed Darrell Waltrip with three laps remaining and held a two-length margin over Geoff Bodine, who also passed Waltrip on the last lap. Waltrip held on for third with Mark Martin fourth, Dale Jarrett fifth and Davey Allison, Bobby's son, sixth.
Seventeen cars were wrecked, one driver hospitalized and six spectators injured in a series of multi-car accidents witnessed by an estimated 100,000 people.
The carnage, Allison said, gives him serious concern for today's $1.5-million Daytona 500.
"There was a lot of disrespect out there for fellow drivers," Allison said. "Drivers were showing no respect for the speed they were running and no respect for the line another driver was taking. There was a lot of shoving and banging going on, and that has me real concerned about Sunday (today)."
Allison might have been racing with brother Donnie at the finish had not a late-race 13-car accident taken him out. In that accident, the hood popped off Donnie Allison's car and sailed over a catch fence and into the crowd like a giant metallic Frisbee. The flying hood settled down softly, but it cut one spectator and bruised several others. None were hospitalized.
"L. D. (Ottinger) turned sideways in front of me and I hit him," Donnie Allison said. "Then I got hit in both ends and the middle. That used to be a good race car. I'm disappointed, but I feel even sorrier for my two sons, who spent so much time building the car."
Ottinger suffered head injuries and was taken to Halifax Medical Center.
Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka worked in Kyle Petty's crew, but it apparently didn't help much. Petty finished 12th.
"This was my first time at Daytona, but I saw enough of the crews at work to know that there's a lot of teamwork involved in racing," Ditka said. "I take my hat off to the guys who drive these cars. They're a pretty special breed."
Allison's Daytona wins have included two 500s, three Firecracker 400s, five 125 heats, one Busch Clash, three modifieds and Saturday's 300.