On Oct. 18, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival held in Lakeland, Fla., will celebrate its ninth year. Taking a cue from the world-class Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the Lakeland show features a tribute to a legendary motorsports’ personality. This year’s honored guest will be legendary stock car racer Bobby Allison.
Allison, from Hueytown, Ala., is a member of the famed Alabama Gang and is considered one of the greatest stock car racing drivers of all time. He is the brother of Donnie Allison and father of Davey and Clifford Allison. He is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1978, 1982 and 1988) and was the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion. Probably one of his most memorable wins was when he and Davey finished first and second in the 1988 Daytona 500.
Bobby Allison is third on the all-time NASCAR win list with 85 victories. He was runner-up to the Winston Cup Champion four times. Bobby is a six-time winner of the Driver of the Year Award 1971-73 and 1981-83. He earned two Olsonite Driver of the Year Awards, in 1972 and 1983.
He was the 1980 IROC Champion and received the NASCAR Award of Excellence in 1989. In 1998 he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. He was inducted into the International Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1993 and was inducted into the National Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1994 he was inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
In addition to hosting Bobby Allison as the Honorary Chairman at this year’s Mercedes-Benz Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival, Founder and Chairman Ford Heacock is gathering a select group of famous stock cars. Race engine builder and former driver Bill Tower, from Plant City, Fla., will present Allison’s 1974 Chevrolet Laguna Chevelle (No. 12 – Coca Cola), Harry Gant’s 1988 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Aero Coupe (No. 33 - Skoal Bandit) and Dale Earnhardt’s 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Aero Coupe (No. 3 -Wrangler). The Dale Earnhardt car won five Winston Cup Championships and was made famous for his “Pass in the Grass” at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1987.
The Mercedes-Benz Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival kicks off on Friday evening Oct. 17 with the Budweiser Hot Rod Rendezvous, an outdoor concert in Lakeland’s Lake Mirror Park.
The main car show is on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Lake Mirror Park and throughout downtown Lakeland. The car show is a free community event benefiting area non-profit organizations.
This year’s event is expected to attract more than 500 automobiles and 35,000 spectators.