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Today in Sports History: 2/16 – Davey Allison Wins the 1992 Daytona 500

Today in sports history (1992), Davey Allison won the 34th running of the Daytona 500. The 1992 Daytona 500 kicked off that year’s NASCAR Cup Series season. Allison had the best car on this day, as he led a whopping 127 of the 200 total laps turned around the famous Daytona International Speedway.

With the win, Allison joined fellow NASCAR legend and father, Bobby, as a champion of The Great American Race.

Davey Allison 1992 Daytona 500 NASCAR today in sports history
Credit: NBC Sports

Davey Allison Wins 1992 Daytona 500 | Today in Sports History

Interestingly enough, the storylines to come out of the 34th Daytona 500 extended well beyond Davey Allison winning the race. Of course, the father-son dynamic that Davey shared with three-time Daytona 500 Champion, Bobby Allison, was certainly unique. The 1992 Great American Race also marked the final running in the event for a pair of racing legends.

No driver has come within even two victories of matching the seven total Daytona 500 wins that Richard Petty accumulated during his career. The 1992 race was his final Daytona 500 appearance. “The King” wound up 16th on this day.

The other marquee name who ran in his final Daytona 500 today in sports history was A.J. Foyt. The 34th running of the Great American Race came 20 years after Foyt notched his lone victory in the 500. Foyt will long be remembered for his success in open-wheel racing.

Early Pit Stop Gamble Pays Dividends for Davey Allison

Early on in the 34th running of The Great American Race, Allison did not appear to be one of the cars to beat. That designation was bestowed upon Junior Johnson Racing teammates, Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin. Allison’s crew wasted little time in trying to make something happen. An early two-tire pit stop call was certainly risky, but Allison caught a massive break when Geoff Bodine was penalized for speeding on pit road. The resulting drive-thru penalty for Bodine cycled him out onto the track with Allison.

While Allison and Bodine were not racing for position, they were still able to work as drafting partners to maintain speed more effectively. Then, the race was delayed due to rain after Lap 80. Shortly after the restart, “The Big One” struck in the 1992 Daytona 500.

“The Big One” Collects Several Top Contenders

On Lap 92 of the race, Ernie Irvan made an aggressive move for the lead. Unfortunately, he had not fully cleared Sterling Marlin when he went to slide up in front of him. The resulting contact moved Marlin up the track and into Bill Elliott who was riding along outside of him.

The wreck that ensued, as a result of this poorly-timed maneuver up front, collected 13 cars. Among those who suffered major damage were Marlin, Irvan, Elliott, Mark Martin, Ken Schrader, Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt. In total, five cars were unable to return to the race following the crash.

Davey Allison Gains Edge on Late Restart

When the fourth caution flag of the race flew on Lap 166, leaders Allison, Morgan Shepherd and Michael Waltrip made their final pit stops. Waltrip’s engine faltered on the restart and paved the way to a two-car battle for the win between Allison and Shepherd.

After leading a whopping 127 laps, over 100 more than any other competitor, it was only fitting that the Ford Thunderbird of Allison hangs on to win the 1992 Daytona 500. The result ensured that Bobby and Davey Allison became the second father-son duo to be crowned champions of the Great American Race. The first family tandem to do so was Lee and Richard Petty.

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