Racing’s “Alabama Gang” will be thrilling fans once again this weekend as the Gadsden-based Wiggins U-27 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Team will honor legendary Hueytown NASCAR driver Davey Allison at HydroFest this weekend.
The team announced earlier that it would honor the late Alan Kulwicki with a sticker on its boat. Now Davey will have a sticker too. Both Davey and Kulwicki were announced a few weeks ago as inductees into the 2019 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Davey, a fan favorite, won 19 races and 14 pole positions in only six full seasons on NASCAR’s top tour.
“Growing up here in Alabama, my dad and I were huge fans of the ‘Alabama Gang,’” said Charley Wiggins, co-owner with father Milton of the U-27 Team. “I was a regular going to all the Talladega races since I was nine years old and I became one of the biggest Davey Allison fans around.
“To tell you the truth, when we lost Davey, my interest in NASCAR faded for a while,” Wiggins said of Allison’s passing on July 13, 1993, as the result from injuries sustained in a helicopter crash. “Davey was my driver and there was such a huge void without him racing. I really think there are many fans out there, especially here in Alabama, who feel the exact same way.
“For our team and especially me personally, it’s such an honor to be able to run his picture on our boat and pay tribute to him like this,” said Wiggins, the sole H1 Unlimited team owner from the Southeast. “I know all his many fans will appreciate it and enjoy celebrating Davey being voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this way.”
“When we were working on the announcement last week that the team would be honoring Alan Kulwicki by putting his tribute decal on the U-27, Charley was quick to say that Davey was always his favorite driver,” said Tom Roberts, the Guntersville resident who heads the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. “I could sense just how much Charley wanted to honor Davey in a similar manner.
“The Allison Family will always be like an extended family of my own,” said Roberts, who served as Bobby Allison’s public relations representative for Miller Brewing from 1984 through 1988. “With both Alan and Davey being voted into the 2019 Hall of Fame Class, I thought it would be appropriate if Charley’s team could honor them by running the decals for both of these special drivers.”
“I reached out to the Allisons and they were so supportive of the idea,” Roberts said. “Bobby and Bonnie signed off on it almost immediately. It took a day or so to finally connect with Liz (Davey’s widow), but she was absolutely ecstatic that Charley wanted to pay tribute to Davey like this.
“Although they can’t be here to see the boat live and up close, we’ll definitely be passing along images of the U-27 to them,” said Roberts. “We also hope to capture some of the fan excitement to show them. I think it will be quite amazing to see the crowd support of the U-27 this weekend. Not only is Charley’s team the only one from this region, now they will have a member of racing’s legendary ‘Alabama Gang’ visible on their boat, too.”
“With Alan riding on the cockpit and Davey on the engine cover, it’ll be like old times at Talladega with those two drafting each other,” Wiggins offered with a chuckle. “Davey and Alan were both Ford drivers for their entire NASCAR racing careers, so that should certainly add to the meaningfulness of having both NASCAR Hall-of-Famers on our U-27.”
This weekend’s Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018 (June 22-24) will feature both the H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix World (GPW) hydro classes. Wiggins Racing will be fielding entries in both classes, with veteran Cal Phipps driving both boats.