Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Get Well Soon, Benny

The AP story:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons hasbeen diagnosed with lung cancer and began chemotherapy treatmentsWednesday.

Parsons, the 1973 Cup champion and currently a NASCARcommentator on NBC and TNT, was diagnosed two weeks ago after he hadtrouble breathing.

"Needless to say this was a huge shock," Parsons said.  "The firstthing everyone asks me is, 'Are you a smoker?'  The answer is that Ismoked my last cigarette way back in 1978, and since then I've hatedbeing around smoking."

"I don't even allow anyone in my foursome to smoke on the golf course."

The 65-year-old Parsons will undergo chemotherapy three days aweek for three weeks, and also will receive radiation five days a week.  He's seeing Dr. Steven Limenpani, who treated NASCAR car owner RickHendrick during his battle with leukemia in the early 1990s.

"I'm determined to pull through this and I appreciateeveryone's concerns and prayers during this time," Parsons said.  "Everyone I work with has been gracious and accommodating.  I plan tokeep on talking about racing for as long as I can."

Parsons plans to remain in the booth during his treatments.

"One of Benny's greatest qualities is how unconditionallysupportive he is to the racing community," said Dick Ebersol, chairmanof NBC Sportss.  "Now it's our turn to provide that support to him.  Iask all of his friends and fans to put him in their prayers tonight."

Parsons, chosen as one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in1998, made 526 starts from 1964 until his 1988 retirement.  He won 21races, including the 1975 Daytona 500, and 20 poles.

He also had 283 top 10 finishes, led at least one lap in 192races and finished no lower than fifth in the points from 1972 to 1980while earning more than $4 million.

Parsons was born in Ellerbe, N.C., but spent time in Detroit,where he worked at a gas station and a cab company owned by his father.  When he first started racing, he often listed "taxicab driver" as hisoccupation on entry forms.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall ofFame in 1994, and the National Motorsports Press Association's StockCar Racing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Parsons began his broadcasting career in the 1980s as a pitreporter for ESPN and TBS, when he was still racing a partial schedule. He moved into the booth for good in 1989 for ESPN and won a Cable ACEAward for best sports analyst.

I hope everything goes well for Benny.  I admire that he is continuing his work in the booth while undergoing treatment. 

With no Cup race this week, I've decided to give the WNR another week off.  This weekend we have the Busch race at Gateway with the big question mark of unleaded fuel, and the IRL takes to the track in Michigan in what is always an entertaining race.

1 comment:

walnutzmaniac said...

I'm sorry to hear this about BP's illness. I will join the other loyal fans in prayer, on his behalf. I guess I hadn't realized that BP was a former driver, I've only been following NASCAR since 2001.