Ever since Talladega Superspeedway opened back in 1969, it has been the site of some incredible NASCAR moments. While there has been some spectacular racing and ridiculous finishes at ‘Dega over the years, the Lincoln, Alabama tri-oval has also seen some devastating crashes in its day.
Of course, you can’t look back at some of Talladega’s craziest wrecks without mentioning Bobby Allison’s insane car acrobatics at the 1987 Winston 500. Because of this wreck, NASCAR required restrictor plates to be used on stock cars that race at Talladega and Daytona. All that considered, this has to put Allison’s crash at least in the top five when it comes to the most impactful wrecks in NASCAR history.
It was on lap 22 of that infamous Winston 500 when Allison had his brush with absolute disaster, after debris from his blown engine cut his tire, causing Allison’s car to go airborne and smash into the catch fence. Allison was going nearly 210 MPH right around the time that he wrecked, which added to the seriousness of the crash (and was a major influence behind the eventual restrictor plate implementation).
While the car came just short of entering the spectator area, five spectators were injured as a result of the crash. Two of those injured required hospital treatment (the other three were treated in the infield medical center), while one of the injured LOST AN EYE due to the flying debris. Bobby’s brother, Davey Allison, ended up winning the race, which had to bring just a little bit of consolation to the Allison family.
As for the restrictor plate changes, NASCAR starting implementing those at Talladega and Daytona during the 1988 season. These restrictor plates not only made for safer (given that they slow cars down), but also more competitive, racing. So, in a way, Bobby Allison contributed to the must-watch, down-to-the-wire racing that we have seen at Talladega and Daytona over the years. Bet he never would’ve thought that would happen when he slammed into the Talladega catch fence all those years ago.