SI: You recently
received a diagnosis of lung cancer. How did you know that something was
Parsons: I'd try
to take a couple of stairs rather than an elevator to get exercise, and it got
to where I'd be saying, Man, I'm out of breath. Finally, I thought I'd better
check it out. We've all had conversations about cancer, but all of a sudden [my
doctor] was talking about me. It was the most surreal feeling.
SI: Will you
remain in the booth during your treatment?
Parsons: As long
as I am able, I will.
SI: What would
you tell Danica Patrick about joining NASCAR?
with what you know, which is open-wheel racing. Win the Indy 500. Then when you
want to ride off into the sunset, come down to NASCAR, and somebody will pay
you a lot of money.
SI: There are
rumblings that the Chase for the Championship could be tweaked. Do you like the
Unfortunately, now the champion is based on consistency, not performance. In
the final 10 races you can win four races, fall out of two, and the guy that
finishes fifth or sixth every race is going to beat you. I'm not sure that's
the best way to crown a champion.
SI: Is winning
Daytona your most memorable moment?
is the one I'll always remember. I didn't start driving till I was 21. It was
1963. This fella I went to the racetrack with asked me if I wanted to try
driving. He just bought a car for 50 bucks and said I could have it. So I took
this car, put on some new sheet metal and went to a quarter-mile dirt track.
Twelve years later I'm in Victory Lane at Daytona. A lot of things happened in
those 12 years.