Benny Parsons ( born July 12, 1941 in Wilkes County, North Carolina; † January 16, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina) was an American NASCAR driver. After the end of his racing career, he worked for various stations as a motorsport commentator. His greatest successes were winning the Winston Cup in 1973 and in 1975 the victory at the prestigious Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Because of its dry comments and his casual appearance, he was often called The Professor.
He spent his childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. After finishing school, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where his father ran a taxi company. Prior to his debut as a NASCAR driver, he worked in a gas station and a taxi driver.
In 1964 he drove a NASCAR race as a teammate of the young Cale Yarborough in the renowned Holman -Moody team. 1968 and 1969 he was champion in each of the ARCA Racing Series, the stock car racing series a smaller organization. In 1969 he arrived in four starts in NASCAR racing three times in the top ten.
In 1970 he drove for the first time the entire season and could in 45 races in the team of LG DeWitt achieve 23 top 10 rankings and eighth in the championship. The following year he scored in 35 starts ten top -10 finishes and eleventh place in the championship, but also celebrated his first victory. In 1972 he won in 35 starts 19 top-10 finishes and finished the championship in fifth place.
1973 finally he managed just one victory - but with 21 top-10 finishes in 28 races - to win the NASCAR championship. The most wins (11 ) this season had indeed reached David Pearson, who had but just gone in 18 races at the start and therefore due to the points scheme had no chance at the title. In the deciding race at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, North Carolina, managed the pit crew of Parsons with the help of many other teams (which supported the underdog ), to make the damaged after an accident in the 13th round car time again afloat that he could reach the 29th place. Since the favored time winner Richard Petty was seen with engine failure only as 35, Parsons won the title; Petty was overtaken in the championship even Cale Yarborough, Cecil Gordon and James Hylton and dropped back to fifth place.
Since the year 1973 also marked the beginning of the modern era in NASCAR marked (restricted to fewer races - only 28 instead of 40 as previously, altered points system), Benny Parsons also regarded as the first master of modern times. Also he is the only rider to win the title in both ARCA and NASCAR.
In the years 1974 to 1980, he finished the championship in each case on the squares between three and five. In 1975 he celebrated his greatest victory at the Daytona 500.
In 1979 he joined the team of M. C. Anderson, where he is the longest race of the season, won the World 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina 1980.
In 1981 he started for the team of Bud Moore and was with victories in Nashville and at the last race at Texas World Speedway tenth in the championship.
In team from Harry Ranier he could for the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway first ever reach 1982, a qualifying round with an average speed of over 200 mph. The second half of the season he played for four other teams.
In the following years, Parsons no longer drove the whole season, but only about half of the race in the team of Johnny Hayes. His last victory he celebrated in 1984 at the Coca -Cola 500 in Atlanta.
A sort of comeback with multiple placements in the top five had Parsons in 1987, when he played a few races in the team of Hendrick Motorsports to replace the diseased AIDS Tim Richmond.
His last season he drove for the team in 1988 by Junie Donlavey.
During his playing career, Parsons began to work for ESPN and TBS as a boxing reporter. After his retirement as a driver, he was a reporter, first for ESPN, then for NBC and TNT. For his work he received several awards.
After he got in the summer of 2006, trouble breathing, lung cancer was found in him. He later said that the treatment had been successful and was completely healthy again. As occurred again breathing problems, it was said that the radiation had damaged his left lung. The doctors said the body would be to switch to the healthy lung. Smoking had given up 1978 Parsons.
On 26 December 2006 he was again hospitalized and treated in the ICU of the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC due to complications related to lung cancer. There he died on 16 January 2007.