Former NASCAR champion and current commentator Benny Parsons succumbed to the ravages of lung cancer this week at the age of 65. Like so many other stock car stars of his era, he was born and raised in North Carolina, but instead of learning how to drive while running moonshine, he instead polished his skills by driving a taxi cab on the mean streets of Detroit before turning pro. Parsons went on to win ARCA championships in 1968 and 1969, and took home NASCAR's crown in 1973. Parsons' encounters with surly crew chief Henry Hyde are said to have inspired a few of the intentionally humorous moments in Days of Thunder. After retiring from driving, he spent over twenty years in broadcasting, with his calm informative style earning him the nickname "The Professor".

Parsons is the second NASCAR driver to die of cancer in the past two weeks; AB reader Patrick pointed out that stock car and truck racer Bobby Hamilton passed away on January 7th.

[Source: SI.com]