Originally created 06/26/02

Racing legend teaches course at ASU



Kati Leonard had a little preview of Tuesday night's continuing education course.

In her second year of racing on the Allison Legacy tour, Leonard knows racing legend Donnie Allison personally. So she knew what to expect at the Stock Car Racing 101 course at Augusta State University Tuesday night.

"I'm expecting to learn a lot of stuff," the 16-year-old Leonard said. "Donnie's a very smart man."

More than 120 people were on hand to hear Allison teach a three-hour course encompassing the many aspects of stock car racing. Allison talked about his racing career and told stories about different drivers. He also touched on subjects ranging from car adjustments to assembling a race team to the business side of racing.

"The more questions they ask, the more they'll learn," said Allison, the 1967 NASCAR rookie of the year. "I found out through everything I've done that I do better when people ask questions."

Chris Thigpen, 24, was waiting to hear Allison's answers.

"I just felt like it was a good thing to come to in Augusta," he said. "I wanted to see what he had to say."

An original member of the Alabama Gang, along with brother Bobby and Red Farmer, Donnie Allison won 10 Winston Cup races. In 239 starts, Allison finished in the top-five 78 times and in the top-10 115 times.

Allison's racing career will be remembered for finishing fourth at the Daytona 500 and later winning the World 600 in Charlotte on the same day in 1970 and getting into a tussle with Cale Yarborough.

As he showed slides of great race car drivers, he showed a picture of Yarborough.

"That's my buddy, Cale," Allison said, drawing laughter from the audience. "You have to give him credit, though. He gave 110 percent out there."

With the success of the program, Freddie Flynt of Augusta State's continuing education department, announced another racing-themed program. The school will play host to a second racing course, starting October 3 and running four consecutive Thursdays. The course will review and preview NASCAR races at Talladega, Atlanta, Rockingham and Charlotte, Flynt said.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.