FOX Sports Broadcaster Steve Byrnes Dies at 59

Steve Byrnes, FOX Sports’ longtime NASCAR broadcaster, passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 56.

Byrnes brought more than 30 years of television experience to his work as play-by-play announcer for the NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES and co-host of NASCAR RACE HUB, FOX Sports 1’s daily NASCAR news and information program. He first joined the FOX Sports family in 2001, hosting TOTALLY NASCAR and serving as a pit reporter for NASCAR on FOX’s inaugural year broadcasting NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES events, continuing on pit road through the completion of the 2014 season.

Honored just days ago at Bristol Motor Speedway with the FOOD CITY 500 IN SUPPORT OF STEVE BYRNES AND STAND UP TO CANCER, race fans, race teams, NASCAR and track officials, co-workers, friends and family came together to surround him with a remarkable display of love and respect. Byrnes was a source of inspiration to everyone, sharing his fight in a very courageous and
public way.

“From the very beginning of NASCAR on FOX, Steve Byrnes was one of the linchpins of the broadcast team,” said David Hill, Senior Executive Vice President, 21st Century FOX, in a statement. “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,” continued Hill. “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.”

Byrnes wore numerous hats over the years, hosting the FOX family’s NASCAR SPRINT CUP and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES practice and qualifying sessions, TRACKSIDE, NASCAR LIVE, THIS WEEK IN NASCAR and THE CHASE IS ON, among other programs.

Prior to joining FOX, the Maryland native hosted Darrell Waltrip’s Racers on TNN in 1999, worked as a pit road reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN, hosted The History of Stock Car Racing, a two-hour documentary on The History Channel, co-hosted Inside NASCAR on TNN, and was the color analyst/coordinating producer for the 20-race ASA AC Delco Stock Car Series on TNN and color analyst for the Summer Legends Shoot-Out Series on FSN in 2000.

“We lost a beloved member of the FOX Sports family today, and we extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to the Byrnes family,” said Eric Shanks, President & COO, Executive Producer, FOX Sports.  “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.”

Surviving are his wife of 22 years, Karen Byrnes; son Bryson, 12, a sixth grader at Charlotte Christian School; parents Jerry and Claire Byrnes of Charlotte; sister Betsy Byrnes of Charlotte; brother Dan Byrnes and wife Tammy of Charlotte; nephews Tyler, 21, and Dylan Byrnes, 17; and niece Samantha Byrnes, 13, of Charlotte.