"They took us to the infield hospital to wait for the helicopters [from Birmingham's Carraway Medical Center], and that's about all," Farmer said, now sobbing. "I didn't see Davey anymore."
During the funeral last Thursday—attended by 600 racing people and observed from a distance by an estimated 4,000 onlookers—at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Bessemer, Ala., NASCAR president Bill France Jr. stood alone in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. "Bobby and Judy had to work hard for everything they had," he said, "and it seemed like early '88 was the best they'd ever had it." That February, Bobby and Davey had finished one-two in the Daytona 500, and though the old man had blown him off at the finish, Davey called it the happiest and proudest moment of his life. "Since then," said France, "they haven't had a break."
After the funeral Donnie stood in Bobby's front yard, gazing at their mother's house across the street. Donnie was asked if Davey's death was, finally, too much for the family. "I don't know if there is too much," he said. "That lady right over there, and our dad, raised us to believe from the time we were little bitty kids that you put it in the Good Lord's hands and you don't question His decisions."
Two summers ago this week, during a traffic-jammed drive from Talladega to Hueytown—precisely the kind of delay he hoped to avoid by owning a helicopter—Davey had expounded upon the subject of death. "If you think about it seriously," he said, "it could happen to us right now on this road." A thunderstorm was brewing. "Or we could get out of this car at my shop, and a bolt of lightning could kill us. We could be going to the grocery store to buy milk for our kids, and some clown could run into us and kill us there."
Or a person could maneuver a helicopter to within one foot of a perfectly safe touchdown in a parking lot and then have things go suddenly, inexplicably crazy. But all that's really important, Davey Allison said two summers ago, is "to leave this earth knowing we've done our best."