Benny Parsons
1941 - 2007
{ "" }
Share
Share Benny's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Benny Parsons, whose gentle nature made him a favorite among NASCAR fans as a broadcaster and whose competitive fire drove him from his father’s taxi company in Detroit to the championship in stock-car racing’s top division, died early Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Parsons was diagnosed with lung cancer on July 13, one day after his 65th birthday. He missed a handful of races while having aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments shortly thereafter, but pressed on and was part of the NBC/TNT team that called the season’s final races. “The Wednesday before the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, I had another scan,” Parsons wrote in a story for the NBC Sports web site, referring to the October race at the Charlotte track. “My doctor couldn't believe what he saw. ‘Remarkable!’ he told me. ‘Ninety-nine percent of the cancer is gone!’”

Just after the season, however, Parsons suffered trouble breathing and doctors put him on oxygen. Subsequent examinations found that his left lung had been badly damaged by the aggressive treatments. Then, just after Christmas, Parsons was hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center and was later moved to intensive care as his condition deteriorated.

“The most unbelievable thing about this is that so many people are praying for me and thinking about me," Parsons said in an interview after his diagnosis last summer. “It has been humbling.

“I've always made the mistake that when friends get sick, I know everyone is calling them so I figure I won't call. That's wrong. I can't tell you how gratifying it has been to hear from friends and colleagues. You always wonder if you made a difference, if you were saying or doing something that meant something. All of this means to me that people have been listening.”

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

He then went on to a second successful racing career as a television analyst, beginning full-time with ESPN in 1989 and continuing through the 2006 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 the broadcasting portion of his career, during which he earned the nickname “The Professor” for the easy, affable tone with which he talked about the sport he loved.

“Benny is such a great role model,” Darrell Waltrip, another former champion who has turned to broadcasting, once said. “He's such a sweet and patient man. I don't think I've ever seen Benny Parsons mad about anything.”

He was born on July 12, 1941, in Wilkes County and raised by his great-grandmother on Rendezvous Ridge near the community called Parsonsville. In the past few years Parsons and his wife, Terri, were building a home near there and Parsons had begun a winery bearing the Rendezvous Ridge name.

When Benny was 5, his parents, Harold and Hazel, moved with Benny’s younger brother, Phill, to Detroit to seek a better way of life for their family. But Benny’s great-grandmother, Julia B. Parsons, was in her 70s and very much attached to the young boy, so Benny stayed behind in a house with no electricity or hot water. The only water in the house was cold water run to it by a system of gravity devised by Silas Parsons, “Mama Julia’s” husband.

His childhood heroes included NASCAR legends Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly, stars of the 1950s. But it wasn’t until after he moved to Michigan 1960 to be with the rest of his family that Parsons took the first steps down his career path. He worked for his father and on occasion drove a taxi in Detroit. Because he later listed “taxi driver” as an occupation on race entry forms, that would eventually become part of his identity as a NASCAR star – the racing cab driver.

“I met two guys my dad knew who had a race car and I started going to the track, into the pits,” Parsons told Circle Track magazine in an interview. “The only time I’d been to a race track was as a spectator.

“Three years later, in 1963, one of these guys stopped by Dad’s station and asked me if I’d like to drive a race car. I said I thought so. He said he had a car he’d give to me, a Ford. We went to his garage, and the first thought I had when I saw that car was that he had got cheated. It was torn all to pieces. We fixed it, though, and I ran my first race, a figure-eight feature on a quarter-mile dirt track, and spun out.”

But just two years later, he was rookie of the year in the Automobile Racing Club of America series. He won ARCA championships in 1968 and 1969.

Parsons finished fifth in a Daytona 500 qualifying race in 1969 and then seventh in the Cup series’ biggest race. Later that year, he finished third at College Station, Texas, setting the stage for a rookie season on NASCAR’s top circuit in 1970 where Parsons hooked up with car owner L.G. DeWitt.

He won his first pole at Atlanta in the final race of 1970 and got his first victory at South Boston, Va., the following year.

In 1973, Parsons won only one race in a season during which David Pearson won 11 times. But Pearson only ran in 18 of the season’s 28 races in the Wood Brothers’ car, so Parsons went into the final race at Rockingham leading Richard Petty by 194.35 points in a system where laps completed counted for varying points based on the size of the track.

“I was in the perfect spot, about fifth or sixth, and didn't have much traffic,” Parsons said. “I was basically in a straightaway by myself. I thought, ‘Wouldn't it be perfect to run like this all day?’”

But on Lap 13, a car driven by Johnny Barnes spun and wound up dead ahead of him on the track. Parsons ran into Barnes and was trying to get his car going again without much luck when he glanced to his right.

“I could not believe what I saw,” Parsons said. “There was no right side, none at all.”

Parsons went to the garage and thought his title chances were over. But people from other teams came over and offered to help, loaning the team parts and pieces to get Parsons’ car back on the track. He returned in time to complete 308 laps and hold on to win the title by 67.15 points over Cale Yarborough.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Jan. 16, 2007.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
2363 entries
March 25, 2018
I loved to watch him talk about the races.......RIP BP
January 16, 2018
Godspeed Benny, and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. Racing now in the ultimate venue....
Harry Simpson
December 25, 2015
Benny was a friend his father was s great man also I am Roger Christel
January 19, 2015
Listened on my car radio to this great legend win the Daytona 500 in 1975, on the river bank in Nashville, Tn. What great memories I have of this man and they are all good.
Roger Cook
January 16, 2015
BP was the best
Michael
July 4, 2014
I miss you Benny and my friend Cliff and the races we shared together.
Richard Grimm
January 5, 2014
We will miss you BP!
February 19, 2013
BP was one of my husbands favorite NASCAR drivers. Rest in peace BP.
Stacy McNeeley
July 28, 2011
Still missing you B.P.
Allen Wagoner
November 29, 2008
Benny was a great inspiration in my life. I learned so much for Benny, not only about racing but life in general. Mr. Parsons always carried himself with great passion and love for the greater things in life, friends family and food! We all gained so much from his work. He truly touched the lives of thousands and personally touched my life in a very big way.
Thank You Benny for everything!
I love you and miss you!!!
Chris Frazier
August 12, 2008
Everytime I watch a race, I wish BP was calling that race! I really miss hearing his inside analysis and his sense of humor. Sometimes I watch tapes of old races just to hear him announce the race! We miss you Benny!
Don P.
April 28, 2008
I never met Benny, but my Mom was born in Parsonsville and is kin to the Parsons. Her aunt's Lillie and Ophelia and her uncle Alonzo Welch told me lots of stories about Benny. Ophelia told me a story how Benny and Phil fixed a car while on the way back from a funeral. My Mother's name was "Vergie Welch". God Bless!
Paul Turner
October 18, 2007
I want to express sympathy to the entire Parsons family. I lost my Dad to cancer on March 12th of 2007. My God be with you during this time
Chad Loflin
July 16, 2007
uncle benny i didn't see you for many yrs but never missed a race. hope your enjoying the big race track in the sky win many for me
Julia (McNair) Greenborn
March 25, 2007
OF COURSE I NEVER KNEW BENNY PERSONALLY BUT I HAVE HEARD TALES FROM MY PAPA AND AUNT IT FELT LIKE I DID AND OF COURSE ON TV MY PA PA BUDDY WAYNE BENNETT STARTED RACING WITH HIM WHEN BENNY STARTED MY THOUHGTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND I AM SORRY THAT I NEVER GOT T MEET A WONDERFUL MAN
DANA BENNETT BROWN
March 8, 2007
We are please to have known him and enjoyed he at the tracks. We will miss you and all best to your family.
We love you.
Robin and Jim Barnes
March 7, 2007
Nelson Ga. will miss you Benny Gods speed dear friend.
Robert Faulkner
February 18, 2007
May you rest in peace !!!
sheri fowler
February 14, 2007
we will miss bobbety boogety boogety in our maine home ...love from maine

brian danforth
brian danforth
February 11, 2007
We will miss Benny a great racer and fun to listen to. God bless BP.

Brent & Deana
Brent Hand
February 7, 2007
Benny, we'll truly miss you. Thanks for all of the kindness that you gave so freely to our family. We send our love to your family.
Mel and Bettilee Eurich
February 7, 2007
I know I am speaking for all race fans when I say that we are truly going to miss hearing your voice every race weekend. You are in my prayers!!!
Christy Bjerke
February 5, 2007
I will miss you BP.
Ray Tate
February 5, 2007
he was a great man from my hometown
Julia McNair Greenborn
February 5, 2007
rip your journey is complete
kevin bozeman
February 4, 2007
Benny will be greatly missed by my family as a lover of the sport and as a kind hearted man. WE LOVE YOU BENNY!!! God Bless and rest peacefully.
Angela Cole
February 4, 2007
To the Parson Family:
Benny was the most to everybody on his ways that brought the commentary on television and I'm sure he'll be remembered at every track that he raced at and visited.
I'll miss him because of his past of treating everyone to a taste of the local tracks. Especially when he was at Bristol.
Ray Miller
February 3, 2007
RIP BENNY RIP
You will be sorley missed by everyone that knew you and knew of you.
Sharon DeTray
February 3, 2007
TO THE FAMILY OF BP MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU NOW AND CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU EACH AND EVERY DAY AND MAY YOUR SWEET MEMORIES CONTINUE TO HELP YOU THRU THE COMING MONTHS AND YEARS HE WAS A GREAT DRIVER AND A LEGENDARY SPORTS CASTER THANK YOU BP YOU WERE ONE OF A KIND YOU WILL TRULY BE MISSED EACH AND EVERY RACE.
JESSE & FANNIE DAVIS
February 2, 2007
Deepest Sympathy to the Benny Parsons Family as well as the entire Nascar Family. BP will be greatly missed by all.
Tondra Mann-Niswander
February 1, 2007
seasons not going to be the same with out ya'.
john supel
January 31, 2007
my family will have yaw in are prayer's we love you benny you will be missed!!!
jeff millen
January 31, 2007
Lisa Davis
January 31, 2007
Deepest sympathy to all the BENNY PARSONS Nascar Family.I've never met the man but he made us all fill like family.Hope to see ya in heaven Benny Parsons.It should be somewhat comforting to know that your voice will live on for many generations through all the video games.May God Bless you and your family Benny Parsons,you will be saddly missed each and every Sunday.
Greg Booher
January 31, 2007
to the family of Benny Parsons, he will be missed deeply. Every sunday he was the best there was on NBC, and he will be missed. A true legend BP was and we will honor him as one. We will miss you BP. Nascar will never be the same.
Matt Borgelt
January 28, 2007
Kim Tumblin
January 28, 2007
God Bless and be with all of you in your time of sorrow. Benny will be very sadly missed.
Melissa DeCook
January 28, 2007
MY SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILY. I WAS RAISED ON NASCAR. MANY A SUNDAY I WOULD SET IN THE PICKUP TRUCK TO LISTEN TO THE RACE WITH MY DAD IN MARION N.C. AFTER CHURCH, BECAUSE BACK THEN IN WAS NOT ON TV. BENNY MAY YOU GO MANY LAPS AROUND HEAVEN WITH DALE SR.
ANN JOHNSON
January 27, 2007
MISS YOU ALREADY.
SANDRA
January 27, 2007
god be with you all at this time.he will be missed by all. not just nascar fans.
sherrie kirkbride
January 24, 2007
Our deepest sympathy to the Parson family. BP is going to dearly missed by his fans.
Robin and Ken Lippy
January 24, 2007
So many memories you left behind.. I guess I can say the wreck with the Siver Fox, was one, that relly scared me, but what a great driver you were.. My heart goes out to your family, as it hurts enough just being a NASCAR fan.. I will miss all the talking, the food that you always talked and joked about, but in all I will really miss you.. You can rest now Benny, you fought that big battle, now we know for sure you are cancer free..
Timmie Timmons
January 24, 2007
I have watch nascar for over years Benny will be missed.RIP Benny
Nerio Peña
January 24, 2007
Thoughts and prayers are with the family.
David Merchant
January 24, 2007
Benny,
We must go on, but we will never forget you...you will be missed on Sundays, we know you will be watching from above... you are truley in a better place now...no more pain. Blessings to your family in this trying time...
Love always,
David "Pepsi" from So. Calif.
David Gerger
January 24, 2007
our deepiest sympathy to the family.our family use to be your neighbors. i remember keeping the boys for connie and benny to attend functions for many occasions. he will truly be missed.may god bless you all. the simmons family from ellerbe,nc
carol simmons hedrick
January 24, 2007
God Bless you all. God be with you in your time of sorrow. Benny will be missed deeply.
Teresa Klima
January 24, 2007
He made NASCAR personable and something very special.
Bradley Heider
January 24, 2007
I have watch nascar for over 20 years Benny will be missed.RIP Benny
Steven Marr
January 24, 2007
I just would like to send my Condolences to the parsons family. I know this is are hard time but you all will make it through this. I hope you all the best from a loyal fan.
James Klima Jr.
January 24, 2007
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well-lived.
Angela Hunter
January 24, 2007
aloha old friend . you will be missed.
charles johnson
January 23, 2007
Benny Parsons......., what can I say that hasnt already been said. Hat of the week, Buffet Benny ! You put your heart and soul in racing. I will miss you. Slow and steady wins the race !
Nancie Ferris
January 23, 2007
I never meet Benny but I fill the lost. Benny made me like NASCAR racing. God Bless his family.
Andrew Surbaugh
January 23, 2007
You won the first Daytona 500 I went to in 1975. I will never forget it nor will I forget what a great ambassador you were for Nascar. You were an originial and there will never be another one like you. God bless you, BP.
Dave Henderson
January 23, 2007
What a great loss BP will surly be missed in our home we enjoyed his comments every race day. God Speed BP
Susan & Joe Searl
January 23, 2007
Parson's family,
We met Benny at the spring Bristol race in 1996. Such a true gentleman! He will be deeply missed by all NASCAR fans; in and out of the TV booth. Our heart breaks for your whole family. God Bless you all.
Barbara & Wayne Ward
January 23, 2007
Please know the entire Parson's family is in our thoughts and prayers. You will be truely missed by all of us.
Skelton Family
January 23, 2007
Our thoughts and prayers to all the family we loved BP. He was always so friendly and treated everyone as if he had always known us. In my mind he, Neil Bonnett, and Ned Jarrett were/are the best of all times as broadcasters. Racing will NOT be the same as all of these have left us or retired. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Triplett Family
Lori Triplett
January 23, 2007
a very great loss i will miss him
jim klima
January 23, 2007
Benny, after his driving career
was over, was like the John Madden
for televised stock car racing. His
love, enthusiasm, and respect for
the sport and it's competitors and fans always shined through. You were in my prayers, Benny...we'll
miss you; thanks for all your contributions to the sport and for being a decent, upbeat person who seemed to embrace life.
Jeff Allman
January 23, 2007
I'm sorry for your loss. Benny will be missed by many.
Connie Rocks
January 23, 2007
My prayers go out to B.P.'s family at this time. May you find some comfort in knowing that there are many prayers being said for you & asking for God to carry you thru.
B.P. will be GREATLY missed when the racing starts. But, I'm sure he's callin the race up above.....what a race it is...all the great drivers that have gone on before! God Bless!
Shari Mello
January 22, 2007
To the Family of Benny Parsons, I am very sorry for your lose i lost my mom 4 yrs ago on the 20th of jan so my heart and soul goes out to you on this sad day in your lives. My prayers are with you on this day May god Bless you
cathy voyles
January 22, 2007
I never met Benny in person but I felt like I had known him all my life.He is missed.
Kim Padgett
January 22, 2007
"Buffet Benny" will be greatly missed in our household. We looked forward every week to hear the humorous additions Benny added to every broadcast. He was larger than life, and there will never ever be another like Benny Parsons. Godspeed.
Joe Ewert
January 22, 2007
Benny may you rest in peace.
Brent Pruesse
January 22, 2007
Parsons Family,
I personally have met Benny on many occassions as a member of the Rick Hendrick stable. He never hesitated to stop and talk or acknowledge me walking through the garage. He will sorrily be missed by my family and all who had the honor to cross his path. With love from the Alfreds Family
Gary Alfreds
January 22, 2007
God Bless BP's family in this time. I enjoyed watching and listening to BP over the years after he stopped racing.
Steven Cotter
January 22, 2007
My deepest condolences to and prayers for Benny's family for your
(and our) loss of such a great person and celebrity. He was one of a kind, and a truly kind one. May God bless and comfort each of you and yours.
Gerald (Gerry) Dunn
January 22, 2007
May God bless BP's family. He is up there announcing the past NASCAR races in heaven. You will sorely be missed
Rainie Keenan
January 22, 2007
To the family of Mr. Benny Parsons,

I continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers during this trying time. May God Bless you and hold you close.
Erin Keating
January 22, 2007
Well I read some of the entries prior to composing my own. Benny Parsons always made NASCAR fun to be a fan of & listening to him call all the races was Always entertaining. He is most certainly among the NASCAR Angels with Dale Earnhardt Sr & all others who we lost way before it was time. You will be greatly missed & are truely loved Benny. Please watch over us all from heaven.
Liz H.
January 22, 2007
We will miss you Benny. Rest in Peace my friend. May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Jim & Jackie White
January 22, 2007
Thanks for the memories Benny ,your apperance at the tracks will be missed!
Michael Whitlatch
January 22, 2007
May God Bless and heal your broken hearts. As the season starts this year it will not be the same as it was when Benny was there. I hope you as a family will rest in that Benny touched so many people and has completed his journey here on Earth and is now in heaven with the other Nascar Angels/Fans!
Ann Gibson
January 22, 2007
Thanks For the Memories Benny! We loved having you visit Hawkeye Downs and seeing you twice a year in person. You are missed!
V Van Hauen
January 22, 2007
I (Jackie)survived Lung Cancer after aggressive treatment and prayed daily that Mr. Parsons would be spared. I will greatly miss watching him do the job he so loved. God Bless his Soul and be with his Family during this sad, sad time, for all of Nascar Fans.
Jackie and Gibbon Beville
January 21, 2007
B.P. well be missed by all
May GOD be with you in your time of need and give you the strenght you need to get through this.
He is racing in HEAVEN with Dale Earnhardt and all the rest of NASCAR ANGELS
Sharon Manning
January 21, 2007
I am going to miss Benny!! Rest in peace-my condolences to the Parsons family in their time of loss.
Nancy Katzer
January 21, 2007
Dear Parsons family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you folks at this time. We were deeply grieved to hear of Benny's passing. We so enjoyed his commentary of the races and it just won't be the same without him. May God bless you.
With warm thoughts and prayers,
Theresa Wilson and Freddie Sullivan
theresa wilson
January 21, 2007
Rest with God Benny.You will be sorely missed by all race fans.You were truly a class act.
John M.Young and Robert Withers
John Young
January 21, 2007
I will miss you and thanks for all the wisdom, love, and compassion that you afforded us with your presence. Nascar has lost a true gentleman and a legacy that we all enjoyed and appreciated. God Bless and thanks Benny--my next BBQ is in your honor..
Richard Hogue
January 21, 2007
I so sorry for you lost. He will be missed by many. But as my day told me when I lost my mom You never lose any one as long as you have your memories. They just went to a better place to wait for us.
Sharon Sanchez
January 21, 2007
I will miss you benny, the brodcast will never be the same without your voice and comments.
craig hannemann indy
craig hannemann
January 21, 2007
just wanted to say that benny will be trully missed in the nascar world and as a friend thanks benny for being the voice of nascar and truly sorry to the family for the loss he will be missed thanks benny chris and jim from all american racing toledo ohio
chris chinni
January 21, 2007
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Sandra & Bruce Ashcroft
January 21, 2007
I am so sorry for the lost.You are in my prayers and thoughts. You were greatly admire by many.
Rosa Younce
January 21, 2007
See you at the BIG race Track in the Sky & will miss you till then
Chub Brunk
January 21, 2007
Benny, I have watched you every weekend for as long as I can remember- from Driver to Sportscaster. You were truly a wonderful person and your bigger than life smile and heart felt laughs will be missed. Gods speed, Benny.
Amanda Jackson
January 21, 2007
Benny Parsons was a wonderful person who will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go you and your family. God Bless.
Wendy Wilner
January 21, 2007
BENNY,
YOU WILL SURLEY BE MISSED. GOD BLESS. YOUR OUT OF PAIN NOW.
LARRY AND DONNA LUKOWSKI
January 21, 2007
It broke my husbands and my heart to hear of Benny's death. Although we never met personally we always felt we knew him well. He was a great man. He will be greatly missed.
Erik and Shelly Bucklitzsch
January 21, 2007
Benny will sadly be missed by all race fans. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Connie Cardwell
January 21, 2007
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
CARMA MASSIE
January 21, 2007
Benny You will be greatly missed.
james phillips
January 21, 2007
We will miss you Benny. Always enjoyed watching you on TV and before in racing. Our sympathy to Phil and the rest of your family. Keep smiling and watch over all on race day.
Candy and Bill Barnes
January 21, 2007
Godpeed BP , I`m going to miss you.
Steve Muller
January 21, 2007
I LOVED BENNY HE WAS ALWAYS SMILLING WERE ALL GOING TO MISS HIM
I MISS HIM ALREADY HIS FAMILY IS IN MY PRAYERS BENNY SAY HI TO DALE AND DAVY AND JESUS AND GOD
FAY BLEDSOE
January 21, 2007
Benny Will Alway's Be The Best.
Richard Stone
Could not load more entries
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences