But it ran. On the 149th lap Parsons returned to the track in his beat up racecar to wild cheers from the fans in the stands. Parsons had one bit of good luck, even while his car was being jury-rigged back together. Richard Petty retired on the 133rd lap with mechanical problems. Parsons drove slowly around the track collecting lap points, while in his pits, Carter scribbled frantically away trying to determine how many laps Benny had to complete to take the championship. On the 394th lap Benny parked the car, which was vibrating too badly to continue by that point. But it was enough. That day David slew Goliath, and Benny Parsons, and the under-funded DeWitt team won the 1973 Winston Cup championship with a little help from their friends.


AFTERMATH. 1973 was the only Winston Cup championship that Benny Parsons won, though he went on to win 19 more races before hanging up his crash helmet at the end of 1988 and signing on as a commentator for ESPN. In his career, which spanned three decades, he won about $4.4 million, less than Jeff Gordon has won this year. The other big story of 1973 was David Pearson, who won 11 of 18 races he entered, 10 of them on superspeedways. Richard Petty returned to form, winning the championship the following two years. Parsons' championship was the first for a Chevrolet driver since 1961. LG DeWitt's team continued running until 1980. In 1978 he prepared a car for one race for an up and coming rookie by the name of Bill Elliott.


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