Alabama Gang

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Emblem created by the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame for use on "race plate" motor vehicle license plates

The Alabama Gang was the nickname for a group of NASCAR stock-car drivers who set up shop and operated out of Hueytown in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the early 1959, young auto racer Bobby Allison left Miami, Florida, looking for an area that had more opportunities to race. After winning a race in Midfield, and two others in the area in the same week, he went back to Florida and convinced his brother Donnie Allison and friend Red Farmer to move to Hueytown and establish a race shop.

The three of them established a successful operation and, in 1961 Bobby started the Daytona 500 in a Ralph Stark Chevrolet. In 1962 he won a modified national championship and returned to cup racing in 1965, winning his first event a year later. For the next 10 years Allison won at least two races each year, with 11 victories in 1971 and 10 in 1972 while brother Donnie came into his own, recording three wins in 1970 on his way to 10 career victories.

In 1972 driver Jimmy Means of Huntsville began to be associated with the Alabama Gang, and by the end of that decade Bobby's son Davey and son-in-law Hut Stricklin started off their careers. Neil and David Bonnett of Bessemer also became involved in the racing dynasty. Other Alabama drivers, such as Jimmy Kitchens, Red Byron (Anniston), and Steve Grissom (Gadsden) kept loose associations with the group. The close-knit familiar group sometimes even included non-Alabamaians such as Dale Earnhardt, who enjoyed his greatest successes at the Talladega Superspeedway.

All of the original members of the Alabama Gang have been inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Davey Allison's younger brother Clifford followed the Alabama Gang tradition, but while practicing for a Busch Series race in Michigan, he spun out in turn 4 and was killed. Bobby Allison retired in 1988 after suffering injuries in a race at Pocono Raceway that nearly cost him his life. Neil Bonnett died while practicing for the 1994 Daytona 500. Davey Allison died in a helicopter crash at Talladega that injured fellow driver Red Farmer in 1993. Farmer, the oldest member of the "Gang," escaped with only broken bones. He recovered and continues to race at short tracks well into his 70s.

Hueytown memorialized the racers by renaming its main street "Allison-Bonnett Memorial Drive".