CHARLOTTE, N.C. – FOX Sports NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes, 56, of Fort Mill, S.C., passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
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.
Byrnes was born April 14, 1959, in Chicago, and was raised in New Carrollton, Md. He attended Church of Christ at Gold Hill Road, was a 1981 graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Radio, Television and Film, and played football for one year at James Madison University before transferring to the University of Maryland.
Byrnes enjoyed a successful and highly respected television broadcasting career for 30 years. He joined the FOX Sports family in 2001, hosting and reporting for multiple NASCAR programs and serving as a pit road reporter for NASCAR on FOX’s broadcast of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 2001-2014. Most recently, he was the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports 1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and was co-host of NASCAR Race Hub for the network.
Prior to joining FOX, Byrnes also hosted Darrell Waltrip’s Racers on TNN, worked as a pit road reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN, and hosted a variety of NASCAR programs for The History Channel and TNN, for which he moved to Charlotte in 1985 and remained in the area ever since. His first on-air job was at WCIV-TV in Charleston, S.C., in 1982, after commencing his television career as weekend sports producer at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., immediately following graduation from college. Byrnes also called play-by-play for a Carolina Panthers/Minnesota Vikings NFL game on FOX and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for DirecTV Hot Pass.
Despite all his career accolades, Byrnes’s greatest accomplishment was his son, Bryson, who is growing into a more Godly, compassionate and respectable young man every day. Byrnes’s passion was spending every moment possible with Bryson, especially watching him play football and basketball and helping prepare him to play for the Charlotte Christian School football team as a seventh grader in the 2015-’16 school year. The other light of his life was Karen, with whom his relationship extended well beyond that of a spouse. The two were inseparable since meeting in 1988 while she was the public relations representative for Benny Parsons in his last season as a NASCAR driver.
Attending Appalachian State University football games was one of the family’s favorite activities, in addition to cheering for the University of Maryland’s football and basketball teams; the Washington Redskins; the Carolina Panthers; following NASCAR; and watching nephews Tyler and Dylan play baseball. Byrnes also delighted in gardening, travel with his family, photographing sports, nature and sunsets.
In addition to being a wonderful, loving and Godly husband, father, son and brother, Byrnes was an excellent friend, colleague and mentor to all who knew and loved him. His indelible impact extended even to the millions of television viewers who watched him every week over the years, as evidenced by the outpouring of public support he received following his cancer diagnosis in August 2013.