On April 21, NASCAR lost one of it’s best announcers and personalities when Steve Byrnes passed away. The longtime Fox Sports broadcaster died after a long battle with cancer, but left an indelible mark on the sport.
Before his death at the age of 56, Byrnes made sure not to forget his duties as a NASCAR reporter. One duty that Byrnes made sure to complete was filling out his ballot for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
He was unable to deliver that ballot on Wednesday, but his son, Bryson Byrnes, made sure his vote was counted. According to Holly Cain of NASCAR.com, Byrnes’ 12-year-old son and wife Karen made the trip to the Charlotte headquarters to deliver the ballot.
“One of the reasons I wanted Bryson to go to the (NASCAR Sprint All-Star) race on Saturday and one of the reasons why today is so important to Bryson is because at home, Steve was just dad,” Karen said. “He emptied the trash, he was just dad.
“I want Bryson to realize and remember that even though he was just dad at home, out in the world, he had a great reach. He touched a lot of people’s lives in a positive and awesome way. I think it’s great Bryson gets to experience that now and see, ‘wow, dad did a lot of wonderful things.'”
The vote was awarded to Byrnes through FOX executives to represent the network after covering NASCAR for 30 years. It was a decision Byrnes took seriously and spent time deliberating over his ballot before his untimely passing.
“We all knew this would give him a big lift,” NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes said. “It’s something I’ll never forget, Steve was just so grateful and just felt very, very honored and felt it was a great recognition of what he had achieved in his professional career.
“I’m just so thrilled he had that opportunity and that was important to me.”
Cain notes Karen found the sealed ballot in Byrnes’ briefcase after he died.
NASCAR fans might not get to hear the enthusiastic reporter in the booth this season, but they can take solace in the fact that he had an impact on this year’s Hall of Fame class. When the five names are revealed on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. ET, Byrnes’ voice will be heard one last time.
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