Statement from MIS president on passing of Benny Parsons
Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR Cup Champion, succumbed to lung cancer on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. He was 65.
Parsons had a great deal of history in Michigan, where he was raised throughout his teenage years. Parsons grew up in Detroit, and worked for his father's taxi cab company prior to getting into racing. He was known as the "Taxi Cab Driver from Detroit" for listing it as his occupation on race entry forms.
Parsons started his racing career at Mt. Clemens Speedway just northeast of Detroit in 1963. He would later go on to win ARCA RE/MAX Series Championships in 1968 and 1969 before moving back to North Carolina and joining the NASCAR ranks full-time in 1970.
Parsons made his Cup debut at Michigan International Speedway in 1969. He made 38 career Cup starts at MIS, with his only victory coming in the June race of 1980 from the pole. In his MIS career, he posted 16 top-10 finishes, two poles, and one win.
Statement from Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a great champion and a larger-than-life person. Benny Parsons personified everything that was good about racing. He was a true ambassador for our sport with his words and his actions. From his days as a taxi driver in Detroit to his time as a racing champion and popular TV analyst, he exuded an infectious passion for racing that we will all miss."