Well now, the fight was really on. Bobby decided he needed to defend himself, so he climbed from the car while continuing to "question Cale's ancestry." It was at this point that the fists began to fly, and as Bobby puts it, "I got out of my car, and a strange thing happened. Cale went to beating on my fist with his nose."
The two scuffled, but it was short-lived. In the years ensuing, Bobby came to understand the incident better and reflects, "That event was spontaneous and had nothing to do with a feud; it just happened. I understand it better now because the Super Bowl of racing had been lost for Donnie and Cale, so the emotions were understandable."
For Bobby, it was a time that was out of the ordinary, because he did not consider himself a physical type in matters of anger. It was a unique event, and as Bobby says, "I have never really been a physical person, but this is a time when I had to defend myself. I really tried to avoid this kind of thing, but sometimes you are not presented with a choice. I did not have time to analyze the emotions."
The end result of this situation was a $6,000 fine by NASCAR to both Allisons and Yarborough, which in those days was no small amount. Bobby says, "That amount was more than I made in the race that day, however, NASCAR said if we behaved, we would get some of the money back, which they did about a month later."
Ironically, this brawl did not foster an ongoing feud among these drivers. As a matter of fact, the very next week, there was another crash between Donnie and Cale, but both men put it in the perspective that it was just a racing accident, and there was no further contention among the Allisons and Yarborough.
A Petty Incident
Another famous rivalry involving Allison was with Richard Petty. Bobby says, "Between me and Petty, I kept the same philosophy. I was in more than a dozen battles on the track, but I would get bumped at the wrong place and time, and I would, of course, respond. But at the end of the day, I would walk away and not carry it with me. It served no purpose to take that kind of thing with me from week to week."
So out of the years of competition, what lessons did Allison learn about feuding and fighting? It is best summed up with his description of an on-track event that took place at North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the late '70s between himself and Richard Petty.
As the race unfolded, Bobby found himself and Petty in tight competition for a win. Bobby says, "I was doing well, but at one point, Petty got into me and got by me. I got back into him and went around him. He did it to me again, so I thought I would get even and put him out of the race.
"It was on the last lap when I decided to put Petty on top of the wall (guardrail), and so I did it. The last I saw of Petty at that moment was his car climbing the rail, so I figured I had the race won. No one else was on the same lap with me, my car was beat up, and the tires were smoking, so I backed off a little because I figured I could win without much effort.
"As it happened, that blue Plymouth flashed by me and won the race. I thought I was getting even, but the truth was that my emotions flowed over, and I was not thinking clearly. Not only did I lose the race, but I also lost to the very person I was trying to get even with."
Winners and Losers
Although there were many times of contention in Allison's career, he adopted the philosophy of leaving work at the track. As he puts it, "I really worked hard to make that happen. When someone did me wrong, I would always tell them how bad I thought what they did was, but I would always go away and leave it at the track. In these cases, I tried to learn from it, and for the next race, I would think, It happened last week, and it's over.