Matt Kenseth honors late Steve Byrnes’ family – Nascar
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly a year after Matt Kenseth drove to victory in the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer at Bristol Motor Speedway, the former series champion met with members of Byrnes family for a special presentation at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
On Tuesday, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver presented Karen Byrnes, widow of the former NASCAR broadcaster, and son Bryson with a replica of the sword awarded to Kenseth for last year’s Bristol win as well as a framed photograph of the team in Victory Lane. Team members in the photo can be seen holding up signs supporting Byrnes, who passed away two days after the race.
“It’s something we’d talked about for a while … just kind of thought with the one-year anniversary of the race coming up and losing Steve shortly thereafter it was a good time to … come down and get a picture with them and give them a replica of the sword trophy and a picture of everybody with their Stand Up With Steve signs,” Kenseth said.
Karen Byrnes said she and her son had no idea the presentation was part of Tuesday’s appearance.
“The NASCAR Hall of Fame had asked us to come down and meet Matt for a photo,” she said. “But we didn’t know Matt Kenseth was bringing the framed photo and the sword; that was just really sweet and wonderful.”
Steve Byrnes was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in September of 2014. His wife said the longtime NASCAR on FOX anchor was “shocked and surprised” at the outpouring of support from the NASCAR industry once others learned of his condition.
The past year, Karen Byrnes said, has “been bittersweet.”
“Obviously … we’ve lived through the firsts of everything. This month in particular will be tough because his birthday is on the 14th and his passing was on the 21st. So we’ve had to live through a first Christmas, a first Father’s Day and a first Easter. Those are challenging times.
“But we’ve tried to be purposeful and also living, too, and moving forward and experiencing life. Because I don’t think we honor Steve in not. I think we do a disservice to him by not going out and living life.”
Steve Byrnes, whose broadcasting career spanned more than three decades, was named the 2016 recipient of the annual Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
“It makes me feel really happy that not only was Dad loved inside the family but was loved by many people outside the family,” Bryson Byrnes said. “He was really special to a lot of people and (that) makes me feel really proud of him.”