Bobby Allison: Inside The 1979 Daytona 500 Fight

Books have been written about how much the 1979 Daytona 500 changed NASCAR forever, helping elevate it into the national consciousness.

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We won't rehash the whole impact here, other than to let one of the participants speak for himself. On Tuesday at the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bobby Allison discussed what led to the fight between he and Cale Yarborough after the infamous crash between Yarborough and Bobby's brother Donnie Allison on the final lap:

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The thing was really unusual. Donnie was winning the race and Cale wrecked him. I mean, how can you say it? I came by the wreckage, but my job was to finish the race. I could see Donnie climbing out of his car, so I knew he wasn't hurt bad, so I went around and got the checkered flag, which was completing my job for the day.

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And I pulled up by the wreckage and hollered to Donnie, did he want a ride? And Cale started saying that the wreck was my fault. I wasn't anywhere around 'em!

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I think I questioned his ancestry, which I shouldn't have done, and he came running toward me and stopped out there a few feet and yelled some more and I think I probably questioned his ancestry a little further, and he lunged at me and he hit me in the face with his helmet.

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Boy, the blood dripped to my lap and it hurt and it surprised me. It just really confused me. I thought, you know, I've got to get out of this car and address this situation right now, and so I did.

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And of course, my version of that is that I got out of the car and then he went to beating on my fists with his nose.

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Then NASCAR fined us $6,000 bucks a piece and I had finished 11th in the Daytona 500 and I had only won $4,000 bucks. So Judy had to write a check at home for $2,000 bucks for me to pay my fine so we could race the next week. So then we were good boys for a few weeks and NASCAR refunded the prize money withheld. They've still got Judy's $2,000 bucks.

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Anyway, we helped it get good.

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Here's a video of the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500:

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