[MUSIC PLAYING] – When we lost our longtime friend and colleague, Steve Byrnes we wanted to memorialize him with an award. Crew chief Rodney Childers, spotter Chris Osborne, and crew chief Tony Gibson are the prior recipients of the Byrnsie. Each year we vote it to someone in the garage area or on the track with whom Fox Sports has a great working relationship and embodies the spirit of Steve Byrnes and his ethics.
One thing this year that stood out was that if Steve Byrnes had a bad day or a bad week, nobody watching at home and nobody on our crew ever knew it. And that is what drove us to this year’s choice. Here is Steve’s son, Bryson.
– The winner of this year’s Byrnsie Award goes to the driver of the 48 car, Jimmy Johnson. Not only is seven-time one of the greatest to ever get behind the wheel, he is also a champion for everyone in the garage and is an ambassador for the sport. From his first championship and still today, Jimmy has spent his career smiling and caring for others.
From his crew to other drivers and teams, and especially our broadcast team, he always goes above and beyond. My dad watched many of Jimmy’s championship runs first-hand, and I know he’s proud watching down, seeing him get his next award. Congratulations, Jimmy.
– Jimmy, we were both friends with Steve and, buddy, it’s my honor to say congratulations on winning this year’s Byrnsie Award.
– Thank you, Michael. Thank you to Fox. Thank you to everybody who voted for me. I am just blown away by this. Karen and Bryson, thank you so much. My friendship with Steve meant the world to me. And I got to know him when I was very young racing in the ASA Series when he was covering those broadcasts or those races back then. So thank you to everybody involved. This means the world to me and I will do my best to continue to smile and carry on the Byrnes tradition.
– Jimmy, a gracious, humble congratulations.
– Congratulations, buddy, well-deserved.
– Thank you, everybody.
– All right, I know they have to introduce you out there. Thanks, Jimmy. Good luck today and the rest of the season.
– Thank you.
– And congrats. He had an interesting quote, Jimmy Johnson. This is early in his career. He said, I was doing charitable work when I was in high school. I’ve always just been drawn to it. And aside from his championship level, he’s been able to do that when he’s not racing.
– What I love about Jimmy, is, that with each championship that he’s been able to enjoy, he’s also taken more and more weight of representing his team, the sponsors and the sport. And I think he does a phenomenal job of handling that weight.
– And when I say he’s gracious and humble, I think about all the people that are in his ear all the time. Whether it’s Chad, the spotter, Rick, whoever it is, always giving him instructions. And Jimmy graciously says 10-4, I’ll see if I can do that.
– Yep. And you could tell a true champion when things are going well. He’s in this winless streak of what, 38 races, a career long, and still acting like the seven-time champion that we know he is.