Benny Parsons, famous NASCAR driver
“I smoked my last cigarette way back in 1978,” he told Nascar.com in July, “and since then I’ve hated being around smoking.”
Dead from "complications of lung cancer," the story says.
He was a famous NASCAR driver before NASCAR was NASCAR, so to speak.
"Benny Parsons was born July 21, 1941, in North Wilkesboro, N.C. When he was 19, his family moved to Detroit, where he worked for a gasoline station and taxi company owned by his father.
In 1997, he wrote on a Web site about an incident two months after he arrived in Detroit:
“I met two guys my dad knew who had a racecar,” he said. “I started going to the track, into the pits. Three years later, in 1963, one of these guys stopped by Dad’s station and asked me if I’d like to drive a car. I said I thought so. He said he had a car he’d give to me, a Ford.
“We went to his garage, and the first thought I had was that he had got cheated. It was torn all to pieces. We fixed it, though, and I ran my first race, a figure-8 feature on a quarter-mile dirt track, and spun out. Twelve years later, I was the Daytona 500 champion.” "