‘Lots of special meanings’ for the Byron family in Martinsville

Ask Dana Byrne if his family has a special connection with the Martinsville Speedway, and he smiles as he makes a gentle clarification.

“Actually, we have many,” he says, as he watched his son, 24-year-old William Byrne, add another layer to the list with a resounding success on a cold Saturday night. Confetti stopped spinning in Martinsville’s Victory Lane, his son’s number. 24 Chevrolet was pushed to the line of scrutiny after the race, but the family was close to the grandfather clock cup, which quietly marked the moments they were all enjoying. .

How much time has passed.

Related: Byrne Martinsville Takes | Cup Series Levels

Dana Byrne recalls a long-standing connection when her husband, Bill, took her son to Grade School for his first Cup Series race in Martinsville. The family lived in Charlotte, not far from the freeway there, but chose to drive north for the first fan experience, allowing the young man to pull Jimmy Johnson into the chat.

The recent merger with Martinsville came as a significant shock. On the same track a year ago, senior Byrne, William was watching the race from Skybox suits. During the incident, Dana said she was unwell and the symptoms indicated that she had suffered a stroke. He was taken to a local hospital in Martinsville, where he was later diagnosed with: MALT lymphoma, a rare but eventually treatable tumor on the side of his brain.

When his cousins ​​fought, the younger Byrne took a respectable fourth place after finishing third. When he returned to his car, he saw a speech from his father with extraordinary urgency: “Call me.”

“Everything seemed to be alright, but they, yes, have this mass in her brain and we have no idea what it is,” William Byrne said. “My heart stopped. I was like, man, I could not cope with that feeling. It was hard to process. After that I would say I never thought about racing for the next few days. It’s about what’s going on.”

A major surgery followed, but complications, a few follow-up operations to remedy them, and daily radiation therapy – all of these were during the period William called “a crazy 90 to 100 days”. All the while, the younger Byrne still had a job to do, and he did it bravely. Five days before Mother’s Day, on May 4, she revealed her mother’s diagnosis on social media. Along the way, he followed family difficulties in Martinsville with eight to -10 results in a 10-race extension.

“William has a tight family with his sister and his mom and dad. Yes, of course it will affect him,” said Rudy Fugal, Byron’s longtime team leader. But know that it will affect you. We have all experienced different things in our lives, to the extent that we want to prevent it, it affects us and what we do.

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“He did an amazing job … and is still successful and racing despite all that, but it’s amazing. Very happy to have completed one year of success.

The younger Byrne was not the only one to succeed over the weekend. Dana Byrne said her latest scan was negative and doctors were optimistic about her long-term prognosis. “So this is a year, a year and I’m cancer free,” he said, “so it has a lot of special meanings.”

Byrne added more links over the weekend. William kicked off the tripleheader at Martinsville on Thursday evening with the success of the Camping World Truck Series. On Racing Day Saturday his parents returned to Martinsville Hospital with a treat and number to thank the first-responding caregiver. Brought 24 gears.

Byrnes will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on Monday, and the choice for their exit is a terrific cold night race in Martinsville. William made that trip even more effective late on Saturday, becoming the first two-time winner of this year’s Cup series after dominating the second half.

“It was fantastic. We’re so proud of him,” said Dana Byrne. He’s in the zone. I can tell he’s very focused now.

Added: Extended highlights from Martinsville

Shortly after the Victory Lane festivities, shortly after the clock ended Saturday through Sunday, proud parents arrived at their son’s Martinsville Media Center. Jeff Gordon, vice president of Hendrick Motorsports and a nine-time Martinsville winner, admitted that they were in the back row and that they fought when his part of the post-race press conference ended. The last round of applause of the night went to Dana Byrne.

The historic trail began its 75th anniversary this year by presenting three Grandfather Clock trophies to each NASCAR National Series race winner over the weekend. Byrne was injured with two of the three.

An almost compelling question arose, asking Byrne where to find space for seven-foot-tall clocks. This time, Bill Byrne got excited and then shook a pair of successful fist-pumps.

Another Martinsville connection for a family that has plenty to celebrate.

“When we went to the other side of it, there was a lot of bright side. It’s great to have her here and to have them here and see how things have progressed in a year,” Byrne said. “It’s amazing. , And nothing more special than tonight to finish everything on the same weekend after a year. Very special, and yes, very awesome. “

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