Racer, broadcaster, mentor, friend; you could use any of these words to describe Benjamin “Benny” Parsons. But his most endearing quality was that he was simply one of the most gracious and unpretentious people you could ever hope to meet. That’s a rare commodity in a sport as competitive as NASCAR.
With his tall, slender frame, signature feathered cowboy hat and sunglasses; he is easily one of the most recognizable figures in the racing world. His accomplishments on the track will likely never be equaled and a worthy successor may never be found. There has only been one king in NASCAR and that king is Richard Petty.
“He could do things in a race car I could only dream about,” he said. “Throughout the entire racing world, I don’t know of anybody who would have said he didn’t give 110% from the time they dropped the green flag until the race was over. He was the same way in life, too.”
Petty is one of the most recognized names in the history of NASCAR. But Lee Petty didn’t begin competing in NASCAR for fame or fortune. It was a means to an end. On a good day it was a way to put food on the table and pay the bills. His career bore little resemblance to the pampered lifestyle of today’s stock car racing elite.
Rex White is a perfect example of what it takes to achieve success. He grew up while the country was in the grip of the Great Depression and spent much of his youth working long hours on a farm. He also suffered from polio as a child but none of this deterred him from his dream.
“He was as good as they come,” Petty said. “There have been very few guys who had more confidence in what he could do than Herb. He was so strong-minded that he ‘willed’ his wins and what he was doing on the track. He was going to beat the guys on the track no matter what was going on. That was his mind set.”
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