Racing fans selected Ryan Newman as the latest honree into the Davey Allison Memorial/Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Newman will join NASCAR’s elite drivers, and at the same time pay tribute to the late Davey Allison, for which a huge memorial is built in the walk of fame park built in the summer of 1994. Allison, the son of legendary driver Bobby Allison, was killed in a helicopter crash in the infield of the race track in 1993.
The park, which covers one entire city block in downtown Talladega, is in the shape of Talladega Super Speedway. Its walkways mimic the race track. The memorial to Davey Allison is a huge marble monument.
In addition to Davey Allison, the first inductees into the walk of fame, are those of NASCAR’s “Alabama gang,”--Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett.
Each year, an active driver is nominated by fans, along with up to two inactive drivers. Along with Newman the late Alfred “Speedy” Thompson was also nominated for this year’s honor.
Newman, 33, is not your ordinary NASCAR driver. A graduate of Indiana’s Purdue University, Newman not only has immense talent behind the wheel, he also has an in depth understanding of what a car is designed and built to do on the racetrack. It is that combination that has made him one of the most successful and respected figures in modern motorsports. After graduating from Purdue in 2001 with a degree in vehicle structure engineering, the South Bend, Ind., native followed his heart and his talent to the racetrack and NASCAR’s premiere division – the Sprint Cup Series. Known for his ability to qualify at the head of the class, Newman has scored at least one pole position in 11 consecutive seasons.
Inactive driver nominee, Alfred “Speedy" Thompson was one of the most successful drivers of the late 1950's. He made 198 starts from 1950 – 1971, winning 20 races along with scoring 78 topfives, 106 top-tens, and 20 poles. Thompson passed away April 2, 1972.
Past active driver inductees have included Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Morgan Shepherd and Kasey Kahne. Richard Petty and Benny Parsons were the first inactive drivers to be inducted, later joined by Alan Kulwicki, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, Lee Petty, Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly, Red Byron, Bobby Isaac, Fred Lorenzen, Fonty Flock, Herb Thomas, Terry Labonte, Rex White, Jack Smith and Jim Paschal.
Walk of Fame drivers have bronze plaques placed around the park.