Justin Allison, grandson of original Alabama Gang member Donnie Allison, was out during the morning session and scored the second fastest lap at 181.257 mph. Donnie won at Talladega twice while his brother Bobby, also an original member of the Alabama Gang, captured four checkered flags at the 2.66-mile famed facility. Davey Allison, Bobby’s son and Justin’s Uncle, won four ARCA races at Talladega, along with three Sprint Cup Series events.
“It has always been a dream of mine to race at Talladega,” said Justin who will be making his Talladega debut in his BCR Ford, which carries the No. 88 his grandfather sported in the 1970s.“It’s my family hometown track and a very special place for all of my family. Being on the track for the first time yesterday I saw first-hand that it is a special place. I had a lot of fun the past couple days. We have a good car and we’re capable of winning the race. A victory here would mean a lot to not only me, but to my entire family.
“My goal is to win it,” added the 21-year-old Allison, who was running in the top-10 during the season opener at Daytona before being collected in a wreck that broke out in front of him. “We have to run the whole race to accomplish that, and I know I’ve got a lot to learn out there. I’m really looking forward to the experience, but if we’re there at the end, our goal should be nothing short of winning it. That’s why we do this.”
Does Granddad think he can succeed?
"He's got a knack," said Donnie, who won at Talladega in 1971 and 1977. "He's (Justin) never driven around Talladega in his life. He went out and ran (Wednesday). He came in and I asked him a question about it. He told me exactly what he felt. I know he felt it, because I saw him do it. That's a gift. That's not taught."
The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 kicks off an eventful Saturday at Talladega, starting at 10 am CT. At 12:10 pm, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will challenge Talladega in the all new “Knockout” Coors Light Pole qualifying. It’s the most anticipated qualifying of the year, with cars running in groups having to make it through three elimination rounds to grab the pole. At 2 pm, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will compete in the Aaron’s 312 race. That evening, country star Randy Houser will hit the stage near Talladega Blvd. in the track’s infield to keep the party going well into the night.
Ticket options? The track has many for fans of all ages, as well as hundreds of acres of FREE Camping. To find out more, call the Talladega ticket office at 1-877-Go-2-DEGA.
NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway in 2014 with the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, which is set for May 2-4. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA Racing Series will take to the track on Saturday, May 3 while NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series machines take the green flag on Sunday, May 4. For ticket information, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
Thursday’s ARCA Practice Speeds at Talladega Superspeedway:
Tom Hessert 181.987
Justin Allison 181.257
Austin Wayne Self 181.213
Kevin Powell 181.134
Michael Lira 180.041
Thomas Praytor 176.484
Raul Orlandini 174.299