Last Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the sensational two-lap victory in the 1970 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway by 2011 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee Donnie Allison in a Banjo Matthews Ford. MSHFA president George Levy talked with Allison about the race.
Tell us about that race and the keys to winning the 1970 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway 50 years ago.
“Well, there’s several things involved. I had to get help at the end of the race because I burned my feet so bad, but the race was a typical World 600 at the time — it all came down to the last 100 miles. I was driving for Banjo Matthews in a Ford, naturally, and my car was really good, but I burnt my right foot so bad I couldn’t keep it on the gas pedal. I tried driving with my left foot, but that didn’t work too well.
“What had happened, before the race Ford came out with some new spray foam insulation for the floorboard, and it was covered with a thin sheet of asbestos. Before the first pit stop my foot had already gone through that and got down on the bare floor. And, not knowing it at the time, I was (making it) worse; every time I made a pit stop, I got them to hand me the water hose and I squirted water on my foot. Well, it was actually cooking it. By the time I got to the end of pit road it’d be boiling.”
“I tried everything in my power to drive that thing, even on my left foot, so I had to get relief. LeeRoy Yarbrough was out, and he got in and finished the race. We had put ourselves out front (by two laps), and when he got in, he kept it there and went and won the race.” (Note: Yarbrough drove the final 37 of 400 laps.)
Read the full story at VintageMotorsport.com.