The tributes have flooded in today, in the aftermath of the passing of FOX Sports commentator and NASCAR Race Hub host Steve Byrnes, who lost a lengthy battle with cancer today at the age of 56.
Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell -- “Steve was everything that racing is about. He loved the sport, its roots and maybe most of all, its fans. From the first time he came to Martinsville Speedway some 30 years ago, I knew there was something special about him. He was such a great advocate for our sport and everyone in it. One of the amazing things about Steve was, I don’t think I ever saw him when he wasn’t smiling. The worst interview in the world couldn’t take that smile away. As sad as today is, there is some satisfaction to know that he’s still smiling.”
Richard Petty -- "Steve was a person who had a real passion for his job and that's what made him stand out as one 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 family’s thoughts and prayers are with Karen, Bryson and the rest of his family.
NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France -- “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. His level of professionalism was matched only by the warmth he showed everyone he met. He battled cancer with tenacity, and was a true inspiration to everyone in the NASCAR family. Simply stated, we’ll miss Steve dearly. Our thoughts are especially with his wife Karen and son Bryson during this difficult time.”
NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley -- "On behalf of the NASCAR Hall of Fame team, I want to extend our deepest sympathy to Karen, Bryson and the entire Byrnes family on the passing of Steve Byrnes. As accomplished and professional as Steve was as a broadcaster, Steve was an even better person, husband and father. Just last Thursday evening, after being readmitted to the hospital, Steve was texting me to get information to help one of his nephews. I thoroughly enjoyed the many years we frequently crossed paths and shared information while patrolling Pit Road and even more so the times we spent together talking about NASCAR or other interests we shared. I was thrilled when NASCAR added Steve to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel and was so looking forward to his insights and sage wisdom as a part of this process. The courage and class with which he fought cancer should serve as an inspiration to all. Steve will be dearly missed but always remembered.”
Eric Shanks, President & COO, Executive Producer, FOX Sports -- "We lost a beloved member of the FOX Sports family today, and we extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to the Byrnes family. It was an honor over the past year to learn just how much Steve was loved and respected throughout the NASCAR community, which was evident this weekend in Bristol. Not even day-long heavy rains could dampen the outpouring of emotion on display. Steve served as a friend and mentor to so, so many, that the shadow he cast will have an impact on our industry for many years to come. The only thing that stands out more to me than Steve as a teacher is Steve as a man, and the bravery and dignity with which he carried himself throughout his terrible illness. We'll miss Steve very, very much."
Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith -- “On behalf of all of us at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., our hearts go out to the Byrnes family, his friends and his co-workers today. He was a great friend, and was well-liked and respected by everyone in our sport. Steve’s courageous fight against cancer was an inspiration to us all. God’s peace was visible in his eyes.”
Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup -- "Watkins Glen International is deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Byrnes. Steve was an inspirational figure and great contributor to our sport, and he will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Karen, Bryson, and the entire Byrnes family, as well as to his many fans and friends in the NASCAR.”
David Hill, Senior Executive Vice President, 21st Century FOX -- "From the very beginning of NASCAR on FOX, Steve Byrnes was one of the linchpins of the broadcast team. His passion for the sport -- his passion for everyone involved with the sport -- shone through week in and week out. But even more than that, Steve was defined by his journalistic integrity and kindness; his ability to communicate everything from complex technical issues to the highly emotive human dramas in this sport, where injury and or death are constantly just one mistake away. The consummate television professional, he established himself as a star on SPEED Channel, where viewers simply loved his knowledge, his sense of humor and his easygoing nature, becoming the Mr. Rogers of NASCAR -- a warm voice everyone trusted. Even more impressive, and fully on display last weekend in Bristol, Steve was loved and respected by the entire NASCAR community, from the drivers to the team owners to the front office executives. I am devastated by his passing -- he was not only a trusted and gifted colleague, but a mate -- my heart goes out to Karen and Bryson."