April 12 in NASCAR: Hurt Allison holds off Wallace at North Wilkesboro
On April 12, 1992, Davey Allison was playing hurt and driving an overhauled race car.
Even that wasn’t enough to keep Allison out of victory lane for the spring race at North Wilkesboro.
The race came a week after Allison hurt a shoulder in a crash at Bristol Motor Speedway.
With Jimmy Hensley on standby in case Allison needed to be relieved, Allison started seventh in a car crew chief Larry McReynolds had “pretty much rebuilt” overnight, swapping out four shocks, three springs and the sway bar, according to the next day’s Charlotte Observer.
Hensley was never needed and Allison’s car proved reliable.
The Robert Yates Racing driver took the lead for the first time on Lap 313 when his team got him off pit road first ahead of Rusty Wallace.
They would do it again on Lap 346 and the remaining 50 green flag laps saw Wallace give chase after Allison.
It would prove futile as Allison edged Wallace by .15 seconds to claim his second win of the year following his Daytona 500 victory.
His shoulder wasn’t the only thing bothering Allison over the course of the afternoon.
“My left leg starting cramping real bad in my thigh and my calf (during the last caution) and I couldn’t stretch my leg out, so I couldn’t rub either one of them to get them worked out,” Allison told ESPN. “I just kept mashing on the foot rest down here and it finally went away. When they threw the green flag it was just take care of the race car and take care of myself the rest of the day.”
The victory was the 11th straight Cup win for Ford dating back to 1991. Ford would win two more races before Dale Earnhardt put an end to the streak in the Coca-Cola 600.
Also on this date:
1952: Buck Baker won a 100-mile race in Columbia, South Carolina. During the race, driver E.C. Ramsey crashed into a passenger car as it tried to cross the track during the race, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Beginning.” Ramsey then climbed from his vehicle and ran over to the passenger car, where he proceeded to beat up its intoxicated driver until the police intervened.
1958: A night after they finished 1-2 in a race in Columbia, Speedy Thompson and Jack Smith repeated the effort in a race at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
1970: Pete Hamilton led the final 17 laps to win at Talladega. At one point in the race, Cale Yarborough drove for five laps without a windshield after his Wood Brothers Racing removed it. It had been damaged when a fan on the backstretch threw a beer bottle and it impacted on the windshield. “I had to cover my nose and my mouth with one hand so I could breathe,” Yarborough said according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Big Bucks and Boycotts.”
1981: It was a day for notable firsts at Darlington Raceway. Bill Elliott started from his first of 55 career Cup poles in the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500. It also saw the first outing of Harry Gant as the driver of Hal Needham’s Skoal Bandit car. It would become a permanent pairing four races later at Dover.