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RIP Benny Parsons

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Sxysprtswrtr, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. skippy05

    skippy05 Member

    I've had the chance to chat with him a couple times and you won't find a more charismatic guy who loved to help young journalists in the garage. A true spokesman for the sport and he will be missed...A terrible time for the sport, losing two great champions so close together...
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Didn't know that until I read it in Benny's obit. Condolences to the family.
  3. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    I've read that Parsons quit smoking years ago, yet dies of lung-cancer complications. I can't help but wonder if a driver in the WINSTON Cup circuit wasn't forced to endure lots of second-hand smoke in many off-the-track situations.

    My wife's late grandfather NEVER smoked, but had to endure second-hand smoke on a regular basis in board meetings as part of his job. He died of lung cancer.
  4. Rough Mix

    Rough Mix Guest

    Our paths crossed briefly a couple of times. Benny Parsons was a good man. Thoughts and prayers with the family.
  5. da el g

    da el g Member

    Benny believed it goes back to his cab days, said the shop floor would be covered in dust from working on brakes, dust was asbestos
  6. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    We'll miss you, Benny. RIP.

    Best wishes to his family and friends.
  7. melock

    melock Well-Known Member

    Benny, like most old school racers, was a good guy. Very friendly. Very approachable. The sport lost one of its best people. RIP Benny:(
  8. John

    John Well-Known Member

    BC-CAR--NASCAR-Remembering Benny,0796
    HARRIS ON RACING: Losing everybody's friend.
    Eds: Mike Harris has been with The Associated Press since 1969 and has covered auto racing full-time since 1980.
    AP Auto Racing Writer
    The first time I saw Benny Parsons, he was sitting on a pile of tires at Riverside International Speedway, smiling and telling racing stories to a rapt audience of drivers, mechanics and reporters.
    That day in January 1980 was also my first day covering NASCAR and I didn't know more than a handful of people in that garage area.
    I stood at the edge of the group gathered around Benny and listened as the former NASCAR champion and one of the sport's most popular drivers told self-deprecating stories and had everybody laughing -- with him, not at him.
    As it came time to get into their cars for practice, the group broke up, but Benny took another moment to say hello to a stranger, one who apparently looked pretty lost.
    ``Hey, if you ever need anything, just let me know,'' Benny said.
    He meant it.
    Over the next 26 years, I came to know Benny Parsons as a friend and truly admire him as a person. I never knew anybody who met the humble man from rural North Carolina without becoming his friend -- at least in Benny's mind.
    And, by the way: Despite looking more like a friendly store clerk or school teacher, he was a pretty good driver, too, although you'd never know it from most of the stories he told.
    In 1982, Benny became the first driver to qualify for a stock car race at more than 200 mph on the big oval at Talladega, Ala.
    When Benny got out of the car and removed his helmet, he looked like he was in pain.
    ``I've got to tell you, that scared the you-know-what out of me,'' Benny said, shaking his head. ``I'm not sure it was worth it. That car was all over the track and I wasn't sure I was going to make it.''
    Somebody asked him if that meant he couldn't do it again.
    ``Well, I think I could,'' Benny said, his grimace suddenly turning into a smile. ``I believe I could.''
    In 1973, the former Detroit cab driver won his lone NASCAR championship. He did it despite winning only one of 28 races that season, and was often asked if consistency should be enough to win a title.
    In 2003, Matt Kenseth also won only once -- in 36 races -- on the way to a championship. Benny said he felt for Kenseth, whose almost boring consistency spurred NASCAR boss Brian France to change the points system and install the Chase for the championship the next season.
    ``Sure, I'd have liked to win more race the year I won my championship,'' Benny said. ``And I know Matt would have liked more wins in 2003. But, you know what, we both won those championships with the rules that were in place at the time.
    ``That means we did our job the best we could do them. I know I never thought about giving back the trophy.''
    The always chatty Parsons began his broadcasting career in the 1980s as a pit reporter for ESPN and TBS, while still racing a partial schedule.
    After retiring from the cockpit following the 1988 season, he moved into the booth for good, first for ESPN and later for NBC and TNT, winning a Cable ACE Award for best sports analyst along the way.
    Besides our friendship and love of racing, another thing Benny and I shared was our taste in books. He was a voracious reader of paperbacks and particularly loved mystery and intrigue.
    In the spring of 1985, Benny and I got into a discussion about an author he had just discovered, one that I had not yet read. We were at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, just 10 miles or so from his home in Ellerbe.
    ``Hey, follow me home after we get done tonight and I'll buy you dinner and give you a couple of his books,'' Benny said.
    ``Sure,'' I said.
    We met as arranged, with me set to follow in my rental car. Race driver Benny took off down a back road near the track and left me, literally, in his dust. No cell phones in those days and I finally found my way to Ellerbe about an hour later. But I had no idea where to find Benny.
    I stopped into a gas station and asked if anybody knew where Benny Parsons lived. Of course, they did.
    When I pulled up in front of the house, there was Benny on the front stoop, waiting with a handful of paperback books and a huge smile.
    Benny was always ready to help out a friend or pitch in for a charitable cause. He was known to be a pretty easy mark for old racers or old friends with hard-luck stories.
    But, most of all, Benny was known for being a good guy, somebody you just loved being around.
    So long ,BP. We're all going to miss you.
  9. markvid

    markvid Guest

    Jerry Punch once told me of when he and Benny were walking out of Rockingham and a clearly intoxicated man staggers up to Benny and said, "Hey, Benny, I got something to tell you! I'M DRUNK!" and proceeds to pass out. Benny, being the person he was, wouldn't leave until medics came to assist the man.
    RIP, Benny. We lost a good broadcaster and a better person today.
  10. jay_christley

    jay_christley Member

    Grand slam by Harris.

    BP will be missed.
  11. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Can't ever remember AP moving a tribute to someone that was that glowing, not even Gerald Ford.

    Says something of the man, I'd reckon.
  12. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    What kills me about obits and eulogies, etc., is that most people should hear these kind words and fond remembrances BEFORE they die. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.

    Granted, if you believe in a higher power/being/something, then, well, I guess the deceased are listening in.

    I met Benny a few times, and he was always friendly. Saw him out on the town some, and he never acted like he was above the average joe.
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