Parsons Passes Away

Benny Parsons, the 1973 Cup Series champion, passed away on Tuesday at the Intensive Care Unit of the Carolinas Medial Center in Charlotte, N.C.

Parsons, who became a popular television and radio personality after retiring from driving, entered the hospital Dec. 26 as the result of complications stemming from his battle with lung cancer. The cancer was diagnosed earlier this year and was recently reported to be in full remission.

Parsons was 65.

Parsons retired as a driver following the 1988 season after a career where he won 21 races and 20 poles in 526 races. He won the 1973 championship and victories in the 1975 Daytona 500 and the 1980 Coca-Cola 600.

He was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in 1998, and was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994. He was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 1995.

After his driving days ended, Parsons started a second career as a broadcaster, working for ESPN in 1989. That led to several other stints including radio work for the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and an analyst role for NBC/TNT, which he held through last season.

"I love the people involved in racing, and the fact that I can still continue to be a part of it is fantastic," Parsons said of his broadcasting career, where he became one of the sport's most popular personalities.

Parsons is survived by his his wife, Terri, and two sons by his late wife -- Kevin and Keith.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Connie E. Parsons Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338; Victory Junction Gang Camp; or the Blumenthal Cancer Research Center.

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