World 600 memories: Rowan County resident Donnie Allison wins at Charlotte, finishes 4th at Indy

Donnie Allison talking with WBTV from his home in Rowan County in 2018.
Donnie Allison talking with WBTV from his home in Rowan County in 2018.(David Whisenant-WBTV)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:35 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s one of the most significant accomplishments in motorsports, and it was achieved by a former NASCAR driver who now lives in Rowan County.

Donnie Allison, a member of the famed “Alabama Gang,” brother of Bobby Allison, and uncle of Davey Allison, was the victor in the 1970 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, and he also managed a top 5 finish in the Indy 500.

In 1970 those races were not run on the same day, so he didn’t technically “do the double” as it is referred to today when a driver runs both races. Allison, with relief help from LeeRoy Yarbrough, won the 600 on May 24, then finished 4th at Indy on May 30.

Running the 600, Allison got out of his 1969 Ford on lap 355 due to heat fatigue. Yarbrough was available after parking his Mercury on lap 178 with a broken clutch. Allison and Yarbrough ended up with a margin of victory of more than two laps over second place finisher Cale Yarborough.

At Indy, Al Unser, Sr., got the victory over Mark Donahue. Allison finished 4th and was named Rookie of the Year.

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