Nascar legend Steve Byrnes, a reporter and host for over 30 years has died at the age 56; finally losing his battle with cancer on April 21st 2015.
A native of New Carrollton, Maryland, he began his career in 1985 hosting TNN’s “Inside Winston Cup Racing” while also serving as a pit reporter for the cable network and CBS as well.
In 2001 Byrnes joined the NASCAR on FOX team, hosting “Totally NASCAR” on Fox Sports Net while continuing to cover events as one of the best pit reporters to ever grace “pit row”.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said, “NASCAR extends its condolences to the many friends, FOX Sports colleagues and family of Steve Byrnes. Whether you had the privilege of knowing him or if you watched him on television for the last three decades, Steve’s work ethic and authenticity made him a beloved individual inside and outside the garage.”
Seven-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty also offered his thoughts on Byrnes’ passing:
“Steve was a person who had a real passion for his job and that’s what made him stand out as one of the best at what he did. He was always humble too, and I never saw him treat anyone unfairly. That’s just how he did his job and lived his life. He always treated myself, our family and our race teams with great respect and I admired him for that. He will be missed by many and our families’ thoughts and prayers are with Karen, Bryson and the rest of his family.”
Before his passing, Byrnes spent as much time as possible with his wife, Karen, and their son, Bryson: “People talk about a bucket list,” Byrnes said in the “NASCAR Illustrated” interview. “My bucket list is that my son and my wife know how much I love them, so that when my time does come there will be no mystery. They’re not gonna have to wonder how Dad or Steve felt about them.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Byrnes briefly at Darlington, when I worked the track as an EMT. I just happened upon Richard Petty as I was walking through “pit row” prior to race time, and was able to listen to Steve interview him. As I stood in the background, I listened as Steve gave this man some pretty amazing praise regarding his career and I also listened as King Richard returned that praise upon him as well. Richard then looked toward me, motioned me over for an autograph and said; “This is one of the most driver respected reporters to ever hold a mike.” I was young and didn’t quite understand his statement, but after many years of listening to Steve, I have to say; “His style of reporting will surely be missed by drivers and fans alike.”