Judy Allison the wife of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison died Friday after complications from surgery earlier in the day at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville North Carolina. Mrs. Allison was 74.
The news was confirmed via a statement released by the family that said she was surrounded by her family, daughters Bonnie Farr and Carrie Hewitt, grandson Robbie Allison, brother-in-law Donnie Allison and his wife, Pat, in addition to her husband Bobby. Bobby Allison met Judy in the late 1950s. They were married in 1960 and had two daughters, Bonnie (1961) and Carrie (1967), in addition to two sons, Clifford and Davey.
Clifford Allison was killed on August 13, 1992, during a practice crash at Michigan International Speedway. Davey suffered fatal injuries on July 12, 1993 while piloting a helicopter at Talladega Superspeedway.
Bobby himself was nearly killed during a race at Pocono on June 19, 1988 when he was hit by another car. Allison survived near fatal injuries but ended his racing career with 85 victories and one National series title (1983). He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2011.
The Allison family, part of the legendary Alabama Gang, is perhaps best known for an incident in the closing stages of the 1979 Daytona 500, the first NASCAR race to be televised live in its entirety. Donnie Allison crashed on the final lap with Cale Yarborough. Bobby, who had been in an on-track incident with Yarborough early in the race stopped and was soon seen trading punches with Yarborough. Many cite the incident as the one that propelled the growth of NASCAR into the national spotlight that continued into the next decade.
Bobby and Judy separated in 1996 but would reconcile and eventually remarry after joining to help comfort Kyle and Patty Petty, who had just lost their son Adam, in May of 2000. In total Bobby and Judy were married for 55 years.
Friday night NASCAR issued the following statement:
“NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Judy Allison, the wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison. Judy, the matriarch of a cornerstone NASCAR family, provided the foundation for the careers of a legendary husband and two sons who both lost their lives entirely too soon. Her love extended well beyond her own family, as many in the NASCAR family leaned upon Judy for support and compassion during many difficult times.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend, and a woman who has given much to our sport.