NASCAR Champion Parsons dead at 65

The 'Professor' has schooled his final class.

After a relatively short battle with lung cancer, 1973 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Benny Parsons has died. Parsons retired from Cup series competition in 1988 after running 526 races and amassing one series title and 21 wins. He is also the 1968 and 1969 Auto Racing Club of America (ARCA) Champion.

Celebration of Champions ceremony: Benny Parsons.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
He became a popular radio and television personality after his retirement and was given the moniker 'the professor' for his casual and insightful commentary as a reporter for TNT and NBC.

In 2006, Parsons was diagnosed with lung cancer, which was reported in full remission. He entered Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on December 26th suffering complications that arose from his lung cancer battle.

Parsons smoked as a young man, but quit in 1978. During his treatments intense radiation damaged his right lung making it hard for Parsons to work, doctors were hopeful that his body would adjust to his good lung, but problems and ill health persisted.

Parsons lost his battle on January 16, 2007 at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition to his racing achievements, Parsons won a Cable Ace Award in 1989 and an Emmy with ESPN in 1996 for his television broadcasting. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994.