James Hylton has appeared in 602 NASCAR races since 1964. (AP Photo)
By Joel Provano
Lost in the excitement last weekend over Danica Patrick winning the pole position for the Daytona 500 was another bit of stock car racing history.
Veteran driver James Hylton made his final appearance in a Daytona International Speedway race Saturday in the Lucas Oil 200, an ARCA race.
That might not seem so remarkable, except for the fact that Hylton is 78 years old, competing in NASCAR’s minor leagues at an age at which most people are toddling down the road in their family sedan. For a little perspective, Hylton was 55 years old when the winner of the race, John Wes Townley of Watkinsville, was born.
Hylton recently announced that the 2013 season will be his final year at the wheel of his No. 48 race car.
“I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while,” Hylton said. “I’m 78, and the time has come.”
Hylton has won twice — at Richmond and Talladega — in 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup appearances, starting in 1964. He has appeared 144 ARCA races since 1997.
At Saturday’s race, Hylton, a native of Inman, S.C., finished 26th in a field of 40.