‘BP’ misses NASCAR Hall of Fame nod

Former Cup champ, broadcaster awaits HOF ticket

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Parsons’ NASCAR HOF nomination
* ESPN: Rockingham’s finest hour
* Bruton Smith voted to NASCAR Hall of Fame
* TNT’s tribute to BP
* NASCAR Hall of Fame induction process
* Benny Parsons’ obituary

Benny Parsons, the Ellerbe NASCAR race car driver who won 21 Premier Series races — including the 1975 Daytona 500 — just missed getting voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Speedway Motorsports owner Bruton Smith, along with Terry Laborite, Curtis Turner, Jerry Cook and Bobby Isaac, will be inducted in the 2016 class next January. Each year, five inductees are selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame by a Voting Panel. Inductees are chosen from a list of 20 nominees that are determined by a nominating committee. The main criteria for nomination and induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame include NASCAR accomplishments and contributions to the sport.

Benny Parsons recalls a near-disastrous crash in 1975 that almost cost him the Winston Cup championship.

Benny Parsons recalls a near-disastrous crash in 1975 that almost cost him the Winston Cup championship.

Parsons, the Wilkes County, N.C., native and former Detroit taxi driver also won the Winston Cup championship in 1973 after a disastrous late-season crash at what was then  North Carolina Speedway, north of Rockingham. Parsons raced for L.G. DeWitt, who owned the Richmond County track. Travis Carter was his crew chief.

“A car had spun and was sitting on the track sideways,” Parsons recalled in a NASCAR interview. “I just caught him with the right side of my car, and ripped the whole right side off.”

ESPN, in a piece written by Richmond County native Ryan McGee, tells the rest of the story:

Poor Benny sat there totally exposed to the grandstand. He was stunned and, as he admitted often, quietly accepted his title loss.

That’s when it happened. After the car was towed back into the garage, other crews started pitching in to help the poor-but-proud DeWitt team.

Benny Parsons

Benny Parsons

Rivals began cannibalizing their own cars and bringing over the parts that Carter needed to rebuild Benny’s ride. For over an hour the patchwork of impromptu teammates hammered and welded.

Maybe they did it because they wanted the little guy to win. Maybe they wanted to see the home team come through. Or perhaps they just liked B.P., L.G. and Travis.

Whatever their motivation, the crew of dozens got Parsons back on the track. He ended up finishing 183 laps behind Yarborough, but 67 points ahead.

Parsons’ career featured 526 Premier Series starts and 21 wins, with 20 pole positions, from 1964 to 1988. He also was the first NASCAR driver to eclipse the 200 mph barrier by qualifying at 200.176 mph in 1982 at the Talladega Superspeedway.

Named one of NASCAR’s Greatest Drivers in 1998, Persons finished among the top 10 a total of 283 times — 54 percent of the time No. 72 was in the field — and 199 top 5 finishes.

He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Parsons died in January 2007 at the age of 65 after a short battle with lung cancer.

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors, Sports

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