William Byron became the first repeat winner of the 2022 Cup Series season on April 9 by capturing the night race at Martinsville Speedway. He celebrated by dedicating the win to his mother Dana, who had undergone treatment for a MALT Lymphoma tumor.
“This one is for my mom,” an emotional Byron told FOX Sports. “This same weekend last year, she had kind of a mini-stroke and she was diagnosed with brain cancer. It means a lot to have her here, and it’s been a crazy year, but she’s doing great. Thanks to everybody for the support. I kind of felt like she was riding there with me.”
Once Byron finished up his post-race interview, he headed over to Victory Lane. He and his mom embraced, and then they celebrated a major weekend. Byron registered his first multi-win season as a Cup Series driver, as well as the first time that he had led over 200 laps in a single race.
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Byron First Revealed the Cancer Diagnosis in Early 2021
Byron stunned the NASCAR community on May 4, 2021, when he revealed that his mother had experienced a stroke-like event during the trip to Martinsville Speedway for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. He explained on Twitter that Dana had numbness in her right arm before experiencing difficulty speaking.
Byron added in the message that they had transported his mother to a local hospital for evaluation and that doctors had discovered a mass near her brain. She was transported to Atrium Health in Charlotte, where testing revealed that she had MALT Lymphoma.
The doctors and the Byron family set up a treatment plan, which involved three weeks of radiation treatment to the left side of her head. Fast-forward to July 27, 2021, and Byron provided a major update on Instagram.
He explained that his mother experienced some complications while receiving treatment but that follow-up scans had shown no visible signs of the tumor. Byron added that Dana would have to take part in regular MRIs indefinitely to ensure that there were no further issues.
The Byron Family Return to Martinsville Featured Major Moments
One year after the major scare, Byron’s parents returned to Martinsville Speedway. They watched as the 24-year-old won both races that he started at the Virginia short track to secure the first two grandfather clocks of his career.
The race weekend started on Thursday, April 7, with the Camping World Truck Series. He took over the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado and led 94 of the scheduled 200 laps before capturing the first Truck Series win in team history.
Two days later, Byron returned to his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. His teammate Chase Elliott won the first two stages and led 185 laps, but the driver of the No. 9 finished 10th overall. Byron, however, led a race-high 212 laps and held off both Austin Dillon and Joey Logano during overtime.
Byron won his second race of the year and became the first person to take the No. 24 Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Martinsville since Jeff Gordon in 2015. He now sits third overall in the championship standings and only 12 points back of Elliott.