Retired NASCAR driver Hylton, 83, dies in vehicle wreck


According to Georgia State Patrol, the collision happened near mile marker 164 in the northbound lane at 6:10 a.m.

The Roanoke Times reported that Hylton and his son and crew chief Terry Strange were traveling back to SC after Friday's ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway when the accident happened around 6 a.m. Saturday, according to Hylton's ex-wife Evelyn Hylton.

James Harvey Hylton, 83, and his son, 61-year-old James Harvey Hylton, Jr., both were from Inman, S.C., died at the scene.

The driver was injured and taken to the Greenville Memorial Hospital by ambulance. The first victory came in 1970 at Richmond with the second coming at Talladega in 1972.

"Our NASCAR family has long had a special connection with our friends at ARCA, and this is a logical step in demonstrating our commitment to the next generation of racers", said Jim France, NASCAR vice chairman in a release, executive vice president and member of the sport's founding family. "We extend our deepest condolences to the Hylton family on the tragic loss of James Hylton and his son James Jr".

Hylton made his start in NASCAR's Sportsman ranks, and he parlayed his automotive know-how into mechanic jobs with a pair of NASCAR Hall of Famers. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1966 and finished runner-up in the championship standings three times during his career. In all, the good-natured Hylton racked up 140 top-five finishes and 301 top-10s in the Cup series.

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The elder Hylton began competing in NASCAR's Cup Series in 1964 and over a 32-year-period competed in 602 races. They were the final two Cup races Hylton ran.

Hylton also attempted 21 Daytona 500s between 1966 and 2007, finishing as high as third in 1967.

Instead, Hylton pressed on to become one of stock-car racing's most enduring independent drivers. Hylton was a auto owner in ARCA.

Hylton made his first start in ARCA in 1986 and climbed out of the auto for the final time in that series in 2013 after running the entire schedule.

His driver, Brad Smith, failed to complete to make a lap in Friday's General Tire 200 after oil pressure issues.