Allison Family Passes Down the Racing Tradition at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
They all share the same light hair, thin build and even the characteristic freckles ¿ genetic traits that are shared among brothers. But the Allison boys ¿ Austin, Will and Carson ¿ share more than just their looks. They also share a desire to be on the race track any time they can.
The Allisons ¿ part of the Alabama gang as relatives of former Winston Cup drivers Bobby, Donnie, Davey and Clifford Allison ¿ have been fixtures at Thursday Thunder since 2000, when oldest brother Austin, now 13, began racing Bandoleros.
At the time, Will had just finished kindergarten and Carson was still sucking a bottle and falling asleep in his mother¿s arms before the feature races ever began. The scene has changed, however.
Will, now 8, made his Atlanta Motor Speedway debut on July 10, wearing a red firesuit emblazoned with ¿Austin Allison¿ in script across the belt. His car was painted blue to mirror the Bandolero machine of his big brother, and the smile on his face proved he was glad it was finally his turn to hit the track.
¿I¿ve been here watching Austin race for a long time,¿ Will said. ¿It¿s about time I¿m finally old enough to go out there and race, too.¿
Austin now races in the Young Guns division, leaving Will as the sole Allison in the Atlanta Dental Team Bandits division. Just because they aren¿t in the same division of Thursday Thunder doesn¿t mean they¿ll never create a little Bandolero sibling rivalry, though.
¿I might be able to beat Austin, I don¿t know,¿ Will said. ¿He¿s got a few years on me. I¿m going to race against him sometime after I get a little experience.¿
While sister McKenzie said she¿s not sure she wants to race, there¿s still another Allison headed for victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Carson will turn five later this summer, but he¿s already itching to get his own car.
¿He keeps asking me when he can race a Bandolero, and I tell him ¿When you¿re eight,¿¿ said the boys¿ father, Tommy Allison. ¿He¿ll look at me and say ¿How about when I¿m five?¿¿
Like Will before him, Carson¿s desire to race comes from watching his big brother.
¿Carson always wants to be right there with us, no matter what we¿re doing,¿ Austin said. ¿He¿s always wearing a racesuit and wanting to do what we do.¿
Tommy said it has caused a few family disputes, but most of the time Austin and Will understand their little brother just wants to be like them. Carson refuses to visit the track without wearing the firesuit Austin made his racing debut in. When the engines fire, Carson often slips on one of Austin¿s old helmets and a head and neck restraint before watching his brothers on the track.
He¿s even been known to fall asleep at home in Austin¿s firesuits and shoes. And although that would aggravate some older brothers, Austin actually finds it a little endearing.
¿I don¿t act like it sometimes, but I really like it that they¿re out here trying to help me,¿ Austin said. ¿It¿s an honor they look up to me as much as they do.¿
While Austin didn¿t have an older brother to look up to, he said he drew a lot of inspiration to race from his second cousin Davey Allison, a Winston Cup driver who was killed in a helicopter crash a decade ago.
¿I know how I feel about Davey and I hope Will and Carson feel one-billionth of that about me,¿ Austin said. ¿If they do, I¿ve done my job.¿
The Allisons can be seen racing their Bandolero cars each Thursday night through Aug. 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In addition to the Bandolero divisions, there are also four divisions of Legends cars and one division of Thunder Roadsters. Tickets are $5 for adults, $1 for kids 6-11 and children under 6 are free.