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Jeff Byrd Obituary

Jeff Byrd (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport/WireImage)
Jeff Byrd (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport/WireImage)
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) - Jeff Byrd, the longtime president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, died Sunday following a lengthy illness, the speedway said. He was 60.

Byrd had run the iconic Tennessee race track since Speedway Motorsports Inc. purchased the facility in 1996. The track became one of the most popular in NASCAR under his leadership.

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 RJR 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," Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith said.

"To say his passing leaves a void would be an understatement. Simply put, Jeff got it. He understood that more than what happened o n the track, it was the experience that fans took home with them that stayed in their memories."

Byrd is survived by his wife of 36 years, Claudia, daughter Belton Caldwell, son Christian, and seven grandchildren.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press
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Published in Charlotte Observer from October 18 to December 31, 2010
Jeff Byrd, one of the most respected and admired leaders in racing, had run Bristol Motor Speedway since January of 1996. Under his leadership, the track became one of NASCAR's most popular venues. Read Obituary
Published in Charlotte Observer on October 20, 2010
Jeff Byrd WINSTON-SALEM -- Mr. Byrd, 60, a man best known by family, friends and professional colleagues for his visionary leadership, community service and generosity, died on Sunday morning,... Read Obituary
Published online on October 17, 2010 courtesy of Bristol Herald Courier.
For the past 14 years, Jeff Byrd served as the face of Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway. The 35-year veteran of the sports marketing profession steered his iconic facilities with boundless... Read Obituary

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