Whether Stefan Parsons is in a racecar on a given weekend or giving garage tours ahead of nearly every Cup Series race, he is among the hardest working individuals in the NASCAR garage. Being at the racetrack is all he‘s ever wanted to do.
Parsons grew up idolizing his father Phil, who has a Cup Series win at Talladega on his resume, in addition to eventually becoming a car owner. There is a strong lineage of the Parsons family in NASCAR, especially with Benny Parsons winning the 1973 Cup Series championship and having a Hall of Fame career.
It‘s now the younger Parsons who carries the family‘s torch, and he‘s doing so in multiple facets.
“I always wanted to be a racecar driver and always wanted to be at the racetrack,” Parsons said. “So, any way that I can be at a racetrack as many days as possible is something that I enjoy.”
With two weekends remaining in the 2023 season, Parsons has competed in 14 Xfinity Series races, down from his career-high number of starts, 24, last season. He‘s added a pair of Truck Series starts to his resume and will have the best opportunity of his career in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway, running the No. 25 truck for Rackley W.A.R. that made the playoffs with Matt DiBenedetto this season. DiBenedetto split from the team three races before the season ended.
“It‘s a dream opportunity for me and I‘m excited and thankful,” Parsons said of driving for Rackley W.A.R. “As a kid, you always want the opportunity to go out there and compete at the highest level in that caliber of equipment. For that dream to come true is special.”
The pressure to perform next weekend will be the highest Parsons has faced yet. As someone who is touted as getting the most out of their equipment, the 25-year-old has never been in a frontrunning ride. But he‘s going to be as prepared as possible going into the event, knowing that each truck has a terminal velocity.
When that race wraps up, his weekend will be far from over. Championship Sunday will mark the two-year anniversary since Parsons gave his first garage tour for Suggs Sports Marketing. It‘s an opportunity that presented itself when a family friend asked if he would be interested in helping out. Since then, he estimates having done 75% of Cup weekends over the last two years.
“The biggest thing is giving people context for the race that they are about to watch,” Parsons said of giving garage tours. “A lot of times, you will have people there who are sponsors or suite guests that maybe haven‘t seen a race before or followed it closely. Giving them context and helping them watch for things in the race and have a better understanding of it is something that I enjoy.”
When the Cup Series competes on road courses, Parsons is among the spotters for the No. 7 team for Corey LaJoie. The first time Parsons remembers spotting was back in 2014 at Sonoma, when at 16 years old, he was spotting for Josh Wise, who drove for Phil at the Cup level.
During the 2020 season, Parsons was the primary spotter for Tommy Baldwin‘s team when it showed up to the track. Spotting has become a gig that Parsons enjoys.
“I do whatever I can do to be at a racetrack on the weekend,” Parsons explained.
This season, Parsons‘ primary role has been with SS GreenLight Racing. When Blaine Perkins departed the team for Our Motorsports following Atlanta in March, the No. 07 car needed a driver. Parsons expressed interest, though having prior commitments with Alpha Prime Racing, which he scored a top 10 with last fall at Bristol.
“[Bobby Dotter] was in a situation where he had a car open up and it was the right timing for the both of us to put a deal together for us to move over there and try and go at it,” Parsons said. “I love racing for Bobby, love the atmosphere and what he‘s built and continues to try and build. It‘s been beneficial for the both of us. We‘ve gotten that program better and continue to improve.”
The No. 07 team has experienced some misfortune, but Parsons has scored top 20 finishes in three of his last four races. Dotter considers that a morale boost with how deep the midpack of the Xfinity Series is.
“It‘s always exciting going with [Parsons] because I know we‘re going to run pretty good,” Dotter said. “It‘s just about getting everything good and getting the most out of it that we can.”
When Parsons isn‘t driving, he still travels with the team to work as a mechanic. It‘s something he‘s done for every team he‘s worked for — BJ McLeod Motorsports and Alpha Prime — and if an opportunity opens up, he‘s there to capitalize.
“It‘s a grind,” Parsons said. “You‘ve got to stay relevant, put yourself out there. I enjoy being at the track every week, whether I‘m racing or not racing. Being at the track every week has brought on more opportunities than had I not been there.”
Ultimately, Parsons is a driver. He feels he excels in that role and has proven he can maximize his starts. While running the majority of races for Alpha Prime in the back half of the 2022 season, there were multiple races where he ran inside the top 10. He earned six top-20 finishes, narrowly missing out on a top 10 at Watkins Glen.
People have taken notice and know that Parsons can be an asset. He also takes pride in making any race team he‘s on better.
“I enjoy being a part of a team and reaching for a goal higher than myself or my own goals,” Parsons noted. “Being with like-minded people and trying to achieve those goals is something I enjoy, have always enjoyed and will continue to enjoy. Whether that‘s in the Rackley truck where our goal is competing for a win or that‘s with Bobby and we‘re competing for top 15s and top 20s, I enjoy that team aspect of it.
“I feel like I‘ve proven that as a driver, I can help try to make a team better.”
Parsons has also worked on the Chevrolet simulator in 2023, helping the manufacturer gain knowledge for both the Xfinity and Cup Series.