T.J.’s Notebook: a Few Thoughts on Tim Allison’s Passing

Tim Allison
Tim Allison. (Mike Campbell photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

During one of the biggest sprint car weekends of the year we are also in the shadow of sadness after receiving the news about Tim Allison passing away on Wednesday due to a heart attack.

Allison’s home in Elida, Ohio is not far from Eldora Speedway. Eldora is also where a lot of Tim’s biggest racing career moments happened during the peak of the series now known as the National Racing Alliance took place. Back when the series was known as the “Sprint Bandits” they were a regular part of the program at the Eldora Speedway, including Kings Royal Weekend. At one point Allison held the track record for 360 sprint cars at Eldora the same night that Craig Dollansky set the 410 track record that was recently broken.

Allison’s career really took off about the same time of the creation of the website. I worked countless races where Allison was in competition. Allison was a dream for someone in a position like me. Always quotable and not afraid to speak his mind along with his aggressive driving style made him a interesting to cover.

Of all the memories around the racetrack two in stand out. Allison once swept a three-day weekend with the Sprints on Dirt in 2003 with two wins at Hartford Motor Speedway including the King of Michigan SOD Summer Nationals and a show at Butler that was co-sanctioning by the National Racing Alliance. That weekend included one of the better performances of Allison’s career, one night of controversy over an on track after some contact at the King of Michigan race, watching fireworks together at Butler (which Tim admired the quality of with his typical excitement level), and a polish victory lap after sweeping the third race of the weekend.

Another was the best race I witnessed during my tenure with SOD at Merritt Speedway where Allison and several Ohio teams came north. Allison, Dustin Daggett, and J.R. Stewart had a tremendous race for the lead with Allison coming out on top. Afterwards Allison’s excitement showed again talking about how different and fun the Merritt track was with its brined clay surface and how it reminded him of karting.

That enthusiasm always shined through when covering Allison. Later in his career the conversations we had often shifted to family, kids, and grandkids. He adored his daughters and grandchildren, often turning the conversation to mention what they were accomplishing. Both of us were sporting more gray hair, but Tim’s enthusiasm was still present. The 360 sprint car scene in Ohio will not be the same after Allison’s passing, but his presence will still be felt by racers for years to come in the Lima, Ohio area.