Chuck Parsons

Chuck Parsons

6/2/1924 - 3/1/1999

Primarily a sports car driver, Chuck did race single seaters on occasions. Winner of the 1966 USRRC he also won the Daytona 24 Hour race in 1969.

Chuck broke his hip when he was 5. It was not treted properly and as a result he always walked with a pronounced limp. He first started racing in an Austin-Healey back in 1958 and then drove a Lotus Ferrari for a couple of years before switching to a 356-A Porsche in 1960.

He was quickly becoming an accomplished racer and sold the Porsche to raise money to buy a Birdcage Maserati Tipo 61 (2463) from Jim Hall in 1961. With the Maserati he won at Vacaville on August 20th and won again at the Stead Air Force Base near Reno on Sept 24. In October at Laguna Seca he qualified 10th but after a good start in the first heat he spun off on the second lap on oil that Augie Pabst had laid down. Six oher cars went off at the same spot. He rejoined and fought his way up to 12th.  In the second heat he had no problems and finished a solid 6th.
Parsons sold his Maserati "Birdcage" to Dan Prades after the 1961 San Francisco Examiner Pacific Grand Prix where Chuck finished sixth behind Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and Roger Penske.

Parsons then bought a Cooper Formula Junior and won his class at Riverside early in March 1962.

At the Laguna Seca round of the USRRC on June 9th, 1963, Parsons drove Randy Hilton's 1600cc Lotus 23 to an outright win and fastest lap. He drove the car again later in the year and in 1964 but with less success.

1965 was again a disapointing season apart from a 6th place at Pacific Raceways in round six of the USRRC. 1966 was a different story though. Driving a Genie Mk10 Chevrolet at the start of the season, he finished 2nd in the opening round of the USRRC in Las Vegas. A third at Riverside and another second at Laguna Seca were followed by two DNFs. For round six he replaced the Genie with a McLaren Chevrolet and finished the season with a third place at Pacific Raceways, a second at Mid-Ohio amd a win in the final round at Road America to take the title.

1966 held much promise but a bad start to the season saw Chuck with a best finish of 7th going into round 7. In round seven however he came first and second in the Road America "500" Elkhart Lake. Sharing the winning McLaren M1B Chevrolet with Skip Scott and taking second in his McLaren Chevrolet driving with Jerry Hansen.
A switch of chassis to a Lola T70 Mk.3B for 1977 with Carl Haas saw Chuck return to the consistency he had shown in 1966. An eigth in the opening round in Mexico City was followed by 4th at Riverside and Laguna Seca, second at Bridgehampton and sixth at Mt. Tremblant in Canada. Three more second place finishes followed at Pacific Raceways, Watkins Glen and Road America before a dissapointing DNF in the final round.

In 1967 he alos drove a NART Ferrai 265P2 at Le Mans with Richard Rodriguez (no relation to the Mexcan Rodriguez brothers) but failed to finish.

Parsons also drove in the Can Am for Carl Haas for three years between 1967 and 1969. In 1967 he drove a McLaren Elva Mk III (M1C) and in 1968 he drove a Lola T-160. Then in 1969 he drove a T-163 but for the last two races he switched to a T-163B.

In 1969 he won the Daytona 24 hour race with Mark Donohue. The Penske entered Lola T-76 coupe was to be driven by Mark Donohue and Ron Bucknum, but Bucknum was injured and Chuck was called in at the last moment.
Chuck passed away of a brain aneurysm in 1999.


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