William Byron earned his first Cup Series victory Saturday at Daytona in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to book his place in the NASCAR playoffs.
Byron's win also drew another round of social media jokes regarding the public capitulation of Jerry Falwell Jr., the evangelical president of Liberty University who resigned this past week amid separate social media and sex scandals. The school, which Falwell's father co-founded, is a prominent sponsor of Byron's No. 24 car.
Falwell has long been a prominent voice on the religious right wing. He is a polarizing political figure because of, among other things, his derogatory comments about Muslim people, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at Liberty and leadership style.
Falwell, 58, went on leave from Liberty on Aug. 2 after posting to Instagram a suggestive photo showing him with his pants unzipped. He stepped down Aug. 25 amid reports about his alleged role in an extramarital affair. He has denied claims he would sometimes watch his wife have intercourse with former associate Giancarlo Granda, though he did say his wife had an affair with someone he declined to identify.
Byron inadvertently got caught up in all of this by association when his Liberty-sponsored car crossed the finish line first at Daytona.
Social media had a field day:
Cue the “Do you think Jerry Falwell Jr. was watching?” jokes— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) August 30, 2020
Jerry Falwell gets his first W of the week.— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) August 30, 2020
William Byron takes Liberty University to victory lane at Daytona. Somewhere Jerry Falwell Jr. was watching and smiling ... cause watching and smiling is apparently what he really enjoys doing.— Shawn Courchesne (@ShawnCourchesne) August 30, 2020
It's appropriate that the battle for the last playoff spots was a three-way....— Jim Tomlin (@jdtomlin68) August 30, 2020
I had Liberty in the pool— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) August 30, 2020
Jokes aside, Falwell might have actually watched the race. He tweeted his congratulations to Bryon in 2017 after Byron won the Xfinity Series and seems to be a fan of the sport.