Jeff Byrd, ran Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Jeff Byrd, the longtime president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, died Sunday following a lengthy illness, the speedway said. He was 60.
Mr. Byrd had run the iconic Tennessee race track since
Mr. Byrd began his career as a sports writer for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina, then moved to the sports marketing department at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He was vice president of business development when he left the company for Bristol.
“From his days as a sports writer to his time at R.J. Reynolds to the last 14 years, Jeff Byrd was one of the greatest promoters both stock car and drag racing has known,’’ said Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports chairman.
“To say his passing leaves a void would be an understatement. Simply put, Jeff got it. He understood that more than what happened on the track, it was the experience that fans took home with them that stayed in their memories.’’
Mr. Byrd leaves his wife of 36 years, Claudia; his daughter, Belton Caldwell; his son, Christian; and seven grandchildren.