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Byron to honor fallen LU alumnus Maj. Tobin Lewis (’08) in Memorial Day weekend race

NASCAR is saluting United States Armed Forces heroes and their families this month leading up to Memorial Day weekend when William Byron and the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will race in the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 26 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The car, sporting a patriotic paint scheme, will bear the name of aviation graduate and former Flames soccer player Maj. Tobin “Toby” Lewis (’08).

Maj. Tobin ‘Toby’ Lewis will be represented by his wife, Meredith (pictured with their daughters Lydia (right), Nora (left), and Eliana) and his father and two siblings at the May 26 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Lewis, 37, a Marine Corps pilot, was one of three service members killed on Aug. 26, 2023, when their Osprey MV-22B crashed during a training operation on Melville Island, 50 miles off the coast of Darwin in northern Australia.

Lewis earned his B.S. in Aviation: Military before being commissioned to the United States Marine Corps, where he led a decorated military career as the recipient of two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

Lewis is survived by his wife, Meredith (’08), and their three daughters, Lydia, Nora, and Eliana. Meredith Lewis plans to attend the Charlotte race along with Norm Lewis, Toby’s father, as well as his brother, Ron Lewis, and sister, Charissa Jones.

This will mark the seventh year in a row that Byron, 26, who is pursuing his B.S. in Strategic Communication through Liberty University Online Programs, will race the No. 24 Chevy with the name of a United States service member who died in defense of their country emblazoned on the windshield.

The Memorial Day weekend event will be the seventh of 12 races in the 2024 season for which Liberty University will serve as a primary sponsor of the No. 24.

Coming off his Cup Series career-best season in 2023, in which he won six races, qualified for the Championship 4 for the first time, and finished third in the final points standings. Byron started the 2024 season by winning the DAYTONA 500 on Feb. 19. He followed that by winning the pole and taking the checkered flag at the season’s first road course race on March 24 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, before winning the April race at Martinsville Speedway, which featured a 1-2-3 finish by Hendrick Motorsports drivers Byron, Kyle Larson, and Chase Elliott.

William Byron stands for the national anthem beside crew chief Rudy Fugle and Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman Jeff Gordon before the start of the March 17 Food City 400 at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo by Matt Reynolds)

Byron finds himself in a very similar situation as he was before last year’s Memorial Day weekend race in Charlotte, where he placed a career-best second on his home track.

He has already clinched his sixth consecutive playoff appearance by winning three races, tied for most in the NASCAR Cup Series. Byron moved up two spots to fifth in the season’s driver point standings after his sixth-place showing at Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. His eight top-10 finishes are tied with teammate Alex Bowman for the season high.

No. 24 Past Memorial Day Weekend Race Tributes

2023 – U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton, who died in the fight against ISIS in Syria on Thanksgiving Day

2022 U.S Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald “Aaron” Grider, Liberty University Online Programs student

2021 U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, Liberty University Online Programs student

2020 U.S. Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings, Liberty University Online Programs student, and World War II veteran and longtime Liberty administrator George Rogers

2019  U.S. Air Force Captain Mark Weber, Liberty University Online Programs student.

2018 U.S. Army Maj. Mike Donahue, a former assistant professor of military science for Liberty’s Army ROTC program, and Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Davidson, who had a decorated 20-year career as a military chaplain before becoming director of Liberty’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program. Donahue and Davidson were recipients of Liberty’s George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award.

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