FOX NASCAR presented seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson with the fourth-annual "The Byrnsie Award" during Sunday's NASCAR RACEDAY pre-race telecast from Sonoma Raceway on FS1.
In honor of late FOX NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes, whose nickname was 'Byrnsie,' the award was established to celebrate an individual in the MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES who embodies principles Byrnes demonstrated daily in his personal and professional life -- preparation, teamwork and family within the garage area. Johnson was voted the recipient by Byrnes' colleagues on the FOX NASCAR broadcast team, of which he was a member since the first race broadcast in February 2001. Byrnes passed away in April 2015 following a courageous battle with cancer.
"Growing up, many race fans now in their late teens wanted to be Jimmie Johnson, and Jimmie has been a great role model for them," FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy said. "This year, Jimmie's character really shone through for his legions of fans, and for those who vote for The Byrnsie."
Johnson is the first driver to be honored with Byrnes' namesake award, which historically has gone to a crew member. Crew chief Rodney Childers won the inaugural award in 2015, spotter Chris Osborne in 2016 and crew chief Tony Gibson in 2017.
"While his team may sometimes struggle to post good finishes, Jimmie's outlook, his demeanor, and his relationships with FOX and other NASCAR media remain very positive," FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy said. "That's a behavior we look for in awarding 'The Byrnsie.' If Steve Byrnes was having a bad day, no one watching at home ever knew it. This year, Jimmie's drive to succeed and positive attitude so reminded us of qualities we most admired in Steve and made Jimmie a nearly unanimous choice for this award."
Byrnes' son, Bryson Byrnes, introduced the award on-camera from the NASCAR RACE HUB studios in Charlotte, N.C.
--- Fox Sports ---