Sort of. Just last fall Petty was driving his pickup on Interstate 85 near Charlotte when he couldn't get past a car in the left lane. Petty tailgated, trying to get the car to move over. The other driver jammed on his brakes for spite. Petty, never one to shy away from a confrontation, bumped the offender. Petty received a traffic citation that was widely reported. At the next NASCAR race, Allison, limping past Petty in the garage, couldn't help himself. "Hey, Richard," he said. "That guy on I-85 must have looked like me."
"Nah," Petty said. "He was just acting like you."
"For career wins," says Allison, turning his guns toward Waltrip, "I am tied with a man who will probably break the tie. But if Darrell would only give back all the wins he got illegally, then he would be tied with Joe Frasson for career wins." (Frasson was a colorful but winless driver of the '70s.)
Illegally? How were Waltrip's wins illegal? "Big fuel tanks, wrong-size engines, wrong tires, you name it," says Allison. "He just got away with murder, race after race."
Waltrip laughs that off as absurd. "Bobby's a lot smarter than me," he says. "Just ask him. So if I thought of that many ways to win races illegally, how many do you think he thought of? For every race I won illegally, he won one more. Seriously, though, do you think NASCAR would let that happen, race after race?
"One of Bobby's downfalls was that he was paranoid. No matter how well he was doing, he thought everybody was against him. Particularly NASCAR—the officials."
Says Donnie Allison, "I honestly believe Bobby felt that nobody could beat him legally. I never heard him say, 'I got beat.' He always thought he was outcheated, or whatever. It became an obsession with him. And it's a sore spot with him today. Right now."
Waltrip suspects that Allison's grievances are based on races in the early '80s, when Waltrip collected most of his victories and all three of his Winston Cup championships. "I was driving for the one man Bobby hates more than he hates me: Junior Johnson," Waltrip says. All Waltrip knows for sure is that with the last words he heard Allison utter as a NASCAR driver, "he called me an a———." And Waltrip thinks Allison was gunning for him on that fateful afternoon in 1988 at Pocono. He believes Allison was still angry over their wreck at Riverside, Calif., the previous Sunday. (Each man still blames the other for the Riverside crash.)
Allison smiles about the only moment he remembers from that Pocono weekend. "Sunday morning," he says. "Drivers' meeting. They asked if there were any questions. I raised my hand. I said, 'What are you supposed to do if some a———spins you out?' [Driver] Michael Waltrip spoke up, 'I'm not the a———. I'm just his brother.' "
"Before the race started," Darrell Waltrip says, "some of the guys who worked on Bobby's crew came up to me. They said, "Please watch out for Bobby. He's had a terrible week, and he's crazy. He says he's gonna wreck you, and he's gonna wreck you big.' Bobby had qualified poorly and was starting toward the back of the field. I was starting up near the front. On the parade lap, I radioed my guys and said, 'Let me know if Bobby gets anywhere near me. I gotta keep an eye on him today.'