Former championship winning NASCAR race car heading to the auction block; It’s likely to be one the highest bidding cars in the show
The car was restored by an original crew member of DeWitt Racing
In 1973, Benny Parsons topped names like Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Richard Childress and Bobby Allison. Parson won his one and only NASCAR Winston Cup Series title that year with a single race win.
David Pearson won eleven races that season. However, Pearson only entered eighteen of the thirty-one races. Ten of those wins came on superspeedway tracks. That was a record setting achievement. A record that was later broken by Bill Elliott in 1985.
The driver was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina and ran his first NASCAR race in 1964 at the age of 23. Parsons retired from the NASCAR Cup Series in 1988. Since then, he’s been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as well as three other halls. He also won an ESPN Emmy in 1996.
The car is the original 1973 No. 72 Chevrolet Chevelle driven by Benny Parsons. He went on to claim the NASCAR Cup Series championship in what has become a very distant, long lost, era of the sport.
The car went to victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway that year. Parsons was chasing a championship from the beginning, he collected 21 top-15 finishes.
Parsons became the only driver to win both an ARCA Racing Series championship and a NASCAR Cup Series championship.
The car ran it’s final race at Rockingham Speedway where Parsons finished in 28th. But, every position matters. Parsons was involved in a crash on lap 13 of the event. The car was towed but the pits with a door missing.
The crew was able to find a door from a competitor team of the same manufacture. The welded in the replacement door. In addition, they replaced many front and rear suspension pieces on the machine.
Meanwhile, Richard Petty had the championship in his sights. Petty sat on the pole that day. He was ready to capitalize on the early crash by Parsons. However, Petty had engine troubles that forced him to the pits. He settled for 35th position and fell to 5th in the standings as a result.
Parsons re-entered the race on lap 135 of the race. He was able to retain the points lead by 67 points over Cale Yarborough. Parsons was crowned the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion.
1973 Points System
Getting back on track was crucial to Parsons winning the championship. Not just for the finishing position as other cars dropped out of the race but also the points accumulated specifically for turning more laps.
If he didn’t he would have lost the championship, even though he won it by 67 points. Back in 1973, points were awarded for the number of laps completed in addition to finishing position.
1973 was the first season that NASCAR awarded points for the finishing position. Odd right?
Previously, championship points were only awarded for laps completed in an event. In this race, Parsons earned 0.50 points for each lap completed in the event in addition to the points earned for his finishing position.
The car has been stored for many years. Tex Powell was crew member for the team. He along with other former team members have restored the car to it’s original condition. They used tools from the 70’s era to preserve the conditions from the year it was on the track.
Under the hood is a 427 Chevrolet engine which has been rebuilt by GM’s Research and Development group in Detroit. The car is fitted with a T10 Transmission and a 9-3/8 Ford differential.
Inside the cockpit sits the original seat. That seat has been recovered by the same man who originally upholstered it. Other notes: 1973 NASCAR-spec roll cage, Stewart Warner gauges, Jones tach, Simpson safety belt, Holman Moody wheels and Goodyear bias-ply racing tires.
One of the crew members took home the gas cap as a piece of memorabilia after winning the championship. That original gas cap has been placed back on the machine.
The car will head to the Mecum Auction in Kissemmee, Florida. The show will run from Jan 3-13th, 2019. It’s one of the eight featured cars that will roll across the stage.
It’s likely to draw big numbers on the auction. Visit the Mecum Auctions website here.