CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For just the third time since the NASCAR Hall of Fame first opened its doors in 2010, race fans will see a new Glory Road exhibit encircling the Great Hall in the museum's main level.
Glory Road "ICONS" features 18 cars representing some of NASCAR's most recognizable vehicles as well as its legendary drivers.
The exhibit will officially open to the public Jan. 7. Friday, Hall officials held an unveiling for members of the media and various local dignitaries.
Seventeen of the vehicles were on display when the hour-long event got underway. The wraps on the 18th, the No. 28 Ford Thunderbird piloted by Davey Allison for Ranier-Lundy Racing, were removed during the program.
Among those in attendance for the unveiling were Allison's father, Bobby Allison, the 1983 series champion and winner of 84 races, Davey's son Robbie Allison, Joey Knuckles (Allison's crew chief for 19 races in 1987), Larry McReynolds (Allison's crew chief at Robert Yates Racing from '91-93) and Lorin Ranier, son of team owner Harry Ranier.
"I notice in this general area Alabama is represented really well," Robbie Allison said, noting his father's car sits between those of his grandfather and fellow Alabama Gang driver Neil Bonnett. "We're doing pretty well I think.
"When I look at this car, one thing that stands out is I always see the snippet online of him driving down pit road at Talladega and the whole crew is on top of the car. ... I see it all the time. All the good times that he and his team shared and our family was able to share through racing."
Davey Allison scored his first NASCAR win in the top series in '87 at Talladega Superspeedway. He would add 18 more victories, including two more at the 2.66-mile Talladega track, before his death in 1993.
Bobby Allison's racing career had ended in 1988 when his Buick slammed into the wall and was then struck by another race car on the first lap of a race at Pocono Raceway. Clifford Allison, Davey's brother, was killed in a crash during practice in 1992 at Michigan International Speedway.
"Something that my granddad says to me all the time is that racing has taken a lot away from us but it's also given us an awful lot at the same time,” Robbie Allison said. "There are so many good memories ...
"The words that everybody that knew (my dad) on and off the track, determination, hard work, obsession even, always willing to put in that extra effort to be better every day. ... He was definitely as good of a father as he was a racer.”
McReynolds, now a NASCAR on FOX analyst, said Allison "actually made my job pretty easy because … I think a lot of it was the way Bobby brought him up through the racing ranks he knew what was going on with that race car and he had a pretty good idea what we needed to do to make it better. ...
"He obviously did a phenomenal job in that race car but he did a really unbelievable job outside the race car. He loved his race fans."
The 18 cars featured on the new Glory Road "ICONS" exhibit span the history of NASCAR, from the 1952 Hudson Hornet driven by Marshall Teague -- a dominant combination in the sport's formative years -- to the 2015 Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry that carried Kyle Busch to the series championship.
Other entries in the exhibit include:
• 1957 Ford Fairlane driven by Fireball Roberts
• 1964 Plymouth Belvedere of Richard Petty
• 1966 Ford Galaxie owned and driven by Wendell Scott
• 1966 Dodge Charger fielded by Cotton Owens and driven by David Pearson
• 1939 Chevrolet Coupe piloted by Richie Evans in 1970-71
• 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Darrell Waltrip
• 1978 Ford Thunderbird driven by Bobby Allison
• 1982 Oldsmobile Omega driven by Sam Ard
• 1989 Ford Thunderbird driven by Neil Bonnett
• 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by Harry Gant
• 1992 Ford Thunderbird driven by Bill Elliott
• 1995 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Mike Skinner
• 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Dale Earnhardt
• 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Jeff Gordon
• 2013 Chevrolet SS driven by Jimmie Johnson
Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, said his group began with a notebook of "100 to 120 cars" that had to be trimmed considerably before beginning the process of selecting and obtaining the final 18.
"If I handed you that notebook you would probably agree that 80-90 are iconic cars," Kelley said. "There are others that are noteworthy of acknowledging at some point in time, but would it pass the sticker test ... would you say 'yeah that's iconic?' "
As with previous Glory Road exhibits, the "ICONS" exhibit will remain on display for three years.