Benny Parsons (July 12, 1941 – January 16, 2007) was an American NASCAR announcer/analyst on NBC and TNT. He became famous as the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup (now Monster Energy Cup) champion in the NASCAR. Benny was very popular in the North Carolina area.

He was nicknamed "The Professor" in part because of his popular remarks and relaxed demeanor.

Before NASCAR Edit

Parsons spent his childhood years in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and played football for Millers Creek High School in Wilkes County. Following high school, he moved to Detroit, Michigan where his father operated a taxicab company.[1] Parsons worked at a gas station and drove cabs in Detroit prior to entering NASCAR competition.

Driving careerEdit


Parsons began his NASCAR career by running one race in 1964 for Holman-Moody with a young Cale Yarborough.

Parsons won the 1968 and 1969 ARCA championships.

Parsons had three Top 10 finishes in four NASCAR races in 1969.


He joined the circuit full-time in 1970. He had 23 Top 10 finishes in 45 races, a pole at Langley Field Speedway, and finished eighth in the points. He raced in the #72 L.G. DeWitt/DeWitt Racing car.

Parsons had 18 Top 10 finishes in 35 starts in 1971, including his first win at South Boston Speedway. He finished eleventh in the points.

In 1972 he had 19 Top 10 finished in 31 races. He finished fifth in the final points standings.

In 1973 he won the NASCAR Championship with only one win, even though David Pearson won eleven races (but Pearson only entered eighteen events). Parsons consistency likely won him the championship: he had 21 Top 10 and 15 Top 5 finishes in the 28 events. 1973 is considered the start of the modern era in NASCAR, so Parsons is considered the first modern era champion. Parsons also became the only person to win both ARCA and NASCAR championships.

Parsons finished between third and fifth in the final points from 1974 to 1980. He won the 1975 Daytona 500. He switched to the #27 car for M.C. Anderson starting in 1979. He won the 1980 World 600 at Charlotte.


In 1981 he starting racing in the #15 Bud Moore car. He had a win at Nashville Speedway USA. He won the final race at Texas World Speedway. His received his final tenth place points finish by finishing tenth.

Parsons qualified for the 1982 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway at 200.175 miles per hour (mph), which was the first NASCAR qualification run over 200 mph. He ran the first half of the season for Harry Ranier, and run some of the races between four other teams.

Parsons raced in about half of the races between 1983 and 1986 for owner Johnny Hayes. Parsons final career victory came at the Coca-Cola 500 at Atlanta.

Parsons resumed full-time racing for Hendrick Motorsports in 1987.

Parsons raced for Junie Donlavey in his final NASCAR season in 1988.

He is also credited for discovering current NASCAR Driver Greg Biffle at a "Gong Show" held in Tucson, Arizona. All told, Biffle has won a Truck Series and Busch Series Championship and is currently battling for the Cup Championship.


NASCAR announcerEdit

After retiring from racing in 1988, Parsons became a broadcaster – first on ESPN, and then with NBC and TNT in 2001. He received a ESPN Emmy in 1996, and the ACE Award in 1989.

Parsons co-hosted coverage of Winston Cup Qualifying on North Carolina radio station WFMX with Mark Garrow in the early 90s.

External linksEdit

Parsons Family
Benny Parsons | Phil Parsons