NASCAR Race Hub dedicates Charlotte studio to Steve Byrnes
Steve Byrnes always carried a huge presence around the FOX Sports studios in Charlotte, North Carolina.
From his tireless preparation, to helping those around the office and offering a word of advice to anyone that asked, Byrnes was integral to success of FOX Sports 1, "NASCAR Race Hub" and everyone around him.
While Steve passed away on April 21 after a long battle with cancer, his presence will remain a permanent fixture in the Charlotte office.
On Thursday, FOX Sports "NASCAR Race Hub" studio was dedicated to the memory of Steve Byrnes.
After comments from FOX Sports executive vice president Steve Craddock, a moving story by FOX Sports digital content producer Branden Williams about Steve’s willingness to help a young kid, and more kind words from FOX Sports president Eric Shanks, Steve’s son Bryson helped unveil the plaque that will sit in the studio honoring his late father.
The plaque includes a picture of Steve, with the following inscription:
"This studio is dedicated in memory of and in upmost appreciation for the time Steve Byrnes spent not only within its four walls, but in our lives. A FOX Sports broadcaster whose career spanned three decades, Byrnes consistently led by example both on the air and off. Garnering a rare profound respect and admiration of every competitor he covered and countless colleagues he encountered. Few put more passion into their work, honesty into their friendships or effort into mentoring others than Byrnes.
"His legacy of hard work, integrity and professionalism, humility, fairness and faith served as an inspiration to his thousands of friends and extended to the millions of viewers who watched him over the years. Byrnes became a tangible example of strength, courage and fortitude to all who witnessed his cancer battle and his inspiring personal campaign to be present in every moment of his family members’ lives. For his FOX Sports family, his family is forever present in this studio and in our hearts."
The commemorative plaque ends with the signoff Byrnes would always end his shows with, "Have an awesome night."
One day after delivering his father’s voting ballot for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bryson was once again honored to be a part of something remembering his dad’s legacy.
"It is awesome," Bryson said of the dedication plaque. "That’s probably my mom’s favorite picture of him. All those words are very true about him and his job. It’s really awesome."
For Steve’s wife, Karen, the plaque in the NASCAR Race Hub studio is an indication of his influence on others.
"Steve, for Bryson, was the dad. He was the guy that took out the trash, who reminded you what time bedtime was, he was just the dad," Karen said. "It’s been an interesting process for Bryson for sure and really for both of us to see the widespread influence and touch he had on a lot of people in different ways. You don’t think of your family a lot in that way, how they influence other lives outside your own household. It’s just been really fantastic to see all the different lives he did touch and influence in a positive way."
During last Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bryson was a big part of FOX Sports 1’s pre-race show as he accompanied Michael Waltrip for the Grid Walk holding a briefcase containing the $1 million prize.
"It was just a blast," Byrson said of his role in the pre-race activities. "I was probably with one of the most fun people in the sport. It was just a great time. It is just awesome how they gave me the chance to do it, and I’m really thankful for that. It was just awesome talking to all those drivers and almost breaking Carl (Edwards)’ hand."
Karen said after Carl ran poorly in the All-Star Race, Bryson was concerned he may have actually hurt the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s hand. To get to the bottom of the situation, Karen sent Carl a text to see if Bryson actually hurt his hand during the pre-race festivities. In response, Carl recorded a video for Byrson letting him know everything was OK.
Since Steve’s passing, Karen said the support from the NASCAR community has been extremely supportive.
"I think the word that comes to me is just it’s such a blessing," she said. "To see how God obviously knew the path we were going to walk and he surrounded us with the people that would help us get down that path. It’s just unbelievable sense of family and love and encouragement. I’m going to argue that there’s no other professional sports industry that compares to the sense of family like NASCAR racing. It’s just this really tight-knit family that spends every weekend together, and when one of their own is hurting they tighten up and need what they need to do to take care of one of their family."
VIDEO: NASCAR Race Hub’s favorite memories of Steve Byrnes