August 26, 1934 Died: April 28, 2018 (Age 83)
Home: Inman, SC
CARNESVILLE, Ga. — Former NASCAR driver James Hylton, the
1966 Rookie of the Year, was killed in a traffic accident
Saturday, authorities said. He was 83.
www.Hylton48.com, his Official Website)
Hylton was born on
August 26, 1934 to a Giles County (Hillsville), Virginia
family and was one of thirteen children. Hylton's spent
his early years in Roanoke Virginia, and his life centered
primarily around farming but he soon found himself, like
many other southern teenagers, immersed in the world of
stock car auto racing. Hylton's career in auto racing began
in the late fifties when he
began working as a mechanic for the legendary Rex White.
James, Rex and Louis Clements teamed to win 26 races and
most importantly the 1960 NASCAR Grand National
championship. In 1964, White scaled back his driving duties
and James began his tenure as crew chief for the Ned Jarrett
/ Bondy Long team.
During the 1964 season the team won
14 races and finished second in points. In 1965, the team
won 12 races and won the NASCAR Grand National championship.
On July 8, 1964,
Hylton made his first Grand National start at the Old
Dominion 400 at Manassas, Virginia. James finished 19 and
collected $100 for his efforts. Things improved
dramatically in 1966, as Hylton finished second in the
points chase and won the coveted NASCAR Rookie of the Year
award. James also captured his first pole at Starlite
Speedway in Monroe, NC. Hylton again finished second in
points during the 1967 season while driving Dodge's for
owner Bud Hartje. James was a model of consistency during
this two year period as he had 46 top five finishes in 87
1968, James became a car owner / driver, a dual role that
continues to this day. James found his way to victory lane
for the first time on March 1, 1970 at the Richmond 500,
driving the familiar number 48 Ford. During the late
sixties and early seventies, Hylton amassed an amazing
consistency record that was rivaled only by those of Richard
Petty and Cale Yarbrough.
On August 6, 1972, James forever etched his name in the
history books by claiming the Talladega 500. Hylton led 106
laps of the 188 lap race and won $ 24,865 for the day.
Hylton won by one car length over ARCA legend Ramo Stott.
continued driving the full schedule until 1982, when he
handed over driving duties to Canadian driver Trevor Boys.
James soldier own as an owner in NASCAR Winston Cup until
1993. James moved to the ARCA circuit during the nineties
and continues to participate as a both a car owner and a
driver to this day.
www.Hylton48.com, his Official Website)
Past Story: At 72, Hylton plans
comeback at Daytona 500
15, 2007 DAYTONA
BEACH, Fla. -- Long after the big-budget NASCAR teams pulled into
the Daytona garage, a bright yellow hauler -- sans the logos and pricey
paint scheme -- navigated its way through the gate. Perched behind the
wheel of the big rig was 72-year-old James Hylton, whose decades-old
image donned the side of the truck. He steered his way past Jeff Gordon,
Matt Kenseth and the rest of today's NASCAR stars to his assigned-spot
along the fence then went to work unloading his car. Yes, his car.
The 1966 Rookie of the Year is
attempting a comeback of epic proportions, bringing a car to preseason
testing Monday as he chases his long-shot dream of qualifying for next
month's Daytona 500. "I am doing this for seniors to show that at 70
years old, you don't have to go hunting for an old-folks home. You can
go race for a little bit,'' Hylton said. "A lot of the old drivers want
to come out here and hang out in the pits and see if I can do it.''
The odds are stacked against
Hylton, who made the first of his 15 Daytona 500 starts in 1966. But
he's not doing this because he foolishly thinks he can win the Super
Bowl of NASCAR. Rather, Hylton just wants a spot in the record books as
the oldest driver to ever make a Cup race. He already holds the mark in
both the Busch and ARCA Series, but is now focused on making it a
trifecta. The Cup record of age 65 is shared by Hershel McGriff (Sonoma,
1993) and Jim Fitzgerald (Riverside, 1987).
"More power to him,'' said
David Stremme, one of 11 current Cup drivers who wasn't born when Hylton
notched his only two victories. "You've got to believe that if he makes
the race, he might earn more money finishing last than he did in an
entire season of his early days. That kind of money could carry a guy
through an entire year and make it worth giving it a shot.'' Indeed,
Carl Edwards won $269,882 last season for finishing 43rd in the biggest
race of the year. Hylton, meanwhile, estimates the most money he ever
made in a single season was "right around $150,000. I won Talladega (in
1972) and it paid $24,000,'' Hylton said. "Now they pay you more than
that just to show up.''
But Hylton has to do a lot more
than just show up, which he learned the hard way on the first of three
days of testing. When he headed out to the track at the start of the
morning session, his radio didn't work and it took hours for him to get
it functioning. By the time he made his first lap, every other driver
had practiced, broke for lunch, then practiced some more. In all, Hylton
ran just five laps and his top speed of 181.397 mph was the slowest of
the day -- and a far cry from the 185.090 mph that David Gilliland
posted to lead the day. "You can't beat youth, I know that,'' he
shrugged. And he may not be able to beat the numbers, either. About 60
drivers are expected to vie for the 43 spots in the Daytona 500 field.
Hylton will be giving his effort in a proven car and good strong engine,
all courtesy of Richard Childress. Hylton has known the car owner since
the two raced against each other in the 1970s, and Childress agreed to
sell a superspeedway car to him from his fleet. The car that was
selected is a good one, too: Robby Gordon drove it to victory in a
Daytona qualifying race in 2004. "The ace in the hole for me is Richard
Childress,'' Hylton said. "Unofficially, he's not backing this thing.
But as a friend, he is. Him and I raced together back in the early 70's
and we traveled together and doubled-up our pit crews. But I don't know
what happened -- he went on to be a multimillionaire and I went on to be
Despite a decent career (he was
runner-up for the NASCAR championship three times and finished outside
the top 10 only twice in an 11-year stretch), Hylton is not living the
good life. He comes from a time when driver salaries were next to
nothing and the purses were peanuts. After starting his career as a
mechanic and crew chief for
Rex White and Ned Jarrett, Hylton made
his driving debut at Manassas, Va., in 1964 with a 19th-place finish
that paid $100.
He spent much of the past
decade toiling in the ARCA series, running the full schedule last season
before finally deciding to call it career. But after his final race last
season, his old childhood friend talked Hylton into coming back. J.C.
Weaver, owner of Mountain Rock Music, a publishing and recording
company, bought the car from Childress and will sponsor Hylton for the
500. "He said, Who is going to sponsor a 72 year old man?' and I said,
"I am. We going to Daytona,''' Weaver recalled. "Now here we are. I know
everybody has a hero in racing and J.C. Weaver's hero is James Hylton.''
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing
(For an artist print of this [unsigned] Email Me)
National / Winston Cup Statistics
Copyright © 2003
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
04/29/18 02:23:31 -0400.
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