Got Your Number: Hoss Ellington, Donnie Allison Made the No. 1 Famous

By Ben White

Former NASCAR driver and team owner Ellington began racing in 1968. Over a 20-year period, he fielded cars for a “Who’s Who” list of drivers that helped to make NASCAR incredibly popular. All told, there were five wins, 53 top-fives, 92 top-10s and seven pole positions in 264 starts through 1988.

Ellington’s driver in 1976 was Indy Car legend A.J. Foyt, having amassed 14 starts dating back to 1974. Ellington wanted to field two cars in 1976 and had the chance to hire NASCAR legend Donnie Allison for his second car. As fate would have it, Allison was the only driver to win in Ellington’s cars. Allison’s dark red Chevrolet was forever known after the last-lap crash with Cale Yarborough during the 1979 Daytona 500. A fight afterward also included brother Bobby Allison.

“A.J. was driving the bright red No. 28 Gilmore-sponsored Chevrolet some so we went to the black and gold Chevrolet Monte Carlo we won with at Charlotte in October of 1976,” Allison said. “Hoss wanted to go to car No. 1 and it was the only other number we could get in NASCAR at the time.

“I came to Charlotte that weekend and my car had the number 1 on the doors and roof. That was fine with me because it was also my number when I ran a long, long, long time ago in Alabama.”