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BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) Jeff Byrd, the longtime president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, has died. He was 60.

The speedway says Byrd died Sunday following a lengthy illness.

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.

Before moving to Bristol, Byrd worked 23 years in the sports marketing department at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He was vice president of business development when he left.

He began his career as a sports writer for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina.

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