CHARLOTTE — Benny Parsons, a Wilkes County native, is up for nomination for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Parsons was born July 12, 1941, in Wilkes County, and was a graduate from Millers Creek (now West Wilkes High School). Parsons passed away on Jan. 16, 2007.
Parsons started racing at the age of 21 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. From there his love of racing took off and he became the NASCAR Premier Series Champion. With a record of one win, 15 Top-5’s, 21 Top-10’s and leading 374 laps, Parsons took home the championship in 1973.
During his career, Parsons had 526 starts, 21 wins, and 20 poles. He won the Daytona 500 in 1975, as well as the World 600 Charlotte in 1980. In 1986, Parsons won the Atlanta Invitational, now known as the Sprint All-Star Race, for the first time.
Parsons was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994, the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame 1995, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2005.
After Parsons’ impressive racing career, he went on to become a broadcast personality for CBS, before moving on to ABC/ESPN and TBS/TNT. Parsons also made his mark as a radio broadcaster in the early ’90s for WFMX.
While Parsons was famous for his racing, he made several apperances on TV and in a few movies. He appeared in Stroker Ace, Herbie Fully Loaded, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Parsons also won an ACE Award in 1989, an ESPN Emmy in 1996 for his broadcasting work at ESPN, and in 2006 a Emmy for outstanding live sports series on NBC/TNT.
Voting day for the NASCAR Hall of Fame is May 25.