Marvin Panch & Donnie Allison, with Bob Pockrass taking notes
Marvin Panch & Donnie Allison, with Bob Pockrass

Veteran stock car drivers, MARVIN PANCH and DONNIE ALLISON of the Alabama Gang delighted the assemblage at the Sonoma Media Lunch Thursday in San Francisco, in advance of this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the track now known as Sonoma, formerly Infineon Raceway.

The two were full of tales and jocularity. A good time was had by all. There were no restrictor plates on their talk.

They talked about the ‘bad boy antics’ of the current crop of drivers. Panch said back in the day,  “There was no going to the NASCAR trailer and paying big fines. We were our own Sheriff. We had our own law enforcement.” Allison said “We took care of things our selves.”

The two agreed that they had no troubles between themselves.

Panch, who lived in the Bay Area and raced in Oakland, said he wished they’d had the Sonoma racetrack “back in our day.” He started racing a 1949-50 Mercury.

Donnie Allison
Donnie Allison

Allison was asked if he could race any car now, what would it be. Answer: JOEY LOGANO’s car. Allison said “I can run faster if I could run drive any car on any track.”

The young Logano was also at the function, as one of the two current drivers to meet with the media; the other being local driver, A.J. ALLMENDINGER from Los Gatos, CA.

Allison and his brother BOBBY ALLISON, were of the age that racing required a permission slip from home, signed by Mom. She refused. There were no promises attempted, to get good grades, or whatever. So Donnie snuck, as did his brother before him. When Mom found out she said “Now all my sons are going to hell.”

The two well-known stock car drivers will have an autograph session 1:30pm PDT Friday at the track, in Winner’s Circle.

Forty-four drivers are entered for the Sprint Cup race.

The three-day weekend starts Friday with Practice and Qualifying for the Sprint Cup Series, as well as the Pick-n-Pull Racing To Stop Hunger 200 NASCAR Pro Series West. Say that five times fast.