• Jan 17, 2007
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]


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  • 4 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      A gentleman and just a good person. I will miss Benny as will all of the young drivers he took under his wing. We love you Benny!
      • 8 Years Ago
      First of all..to the Autoblog editors: What the hell took so long to post this??? I kept checking all day yesterday when the news broke, and NOTHING posted until TODAY? Are you asleep at the wheel?

      Benny was like your favorite uncle, or grandpa that you couldn't wait to see when you were a kid. It would have been great to sit down for a beer or lunch and listen to all of his stories. Remember those "Benny's Buffet" shoots they used to do when he was with ESPN? Priceless! Everyone who knew Benny all said that he was as down to earth and genuine to everyone in person, whether he knew you or not, as he came across on TV. The world could use a few more BP's.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bennie was an especially nice guy in a sport full of nice people. Although I've personally always preferred other forms of motorsport, I've alwasy been quick to admit that F1, IMSA and CART lacked the Benny Parsons and Ned Jarretts of the world, and they are poorer for that.

      I had the good fortune to have worked for Ken Squier's production company back in the 80s when Benny first got into broadcasting. He had the voice and the temperment to do live TV that at least equalled his driving ability. And he treated everyone with the same respect he treated his bosses - right down to the lowliest roadie.

      I can imagine St. Peter doubled up laughing at Bennie's NASCAR war stories right now, anmd whatever corner of heaven Bennie's in is where I want to land when my time is up.

      • 8 Years Ago
      He was a great man,gentleman ,great commentator,all around nice guy, ...Will miss him a tonne