No Track For (Really) Old Men: The James Hylton Saga

Weather permitting, 79-year-old James Harvey Hylton will make his 171st and final ARCA start at Kansas Speedway on Friday night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Weather permitting, Inman, S.C., native James Harvey Hylton will make his 171st and final ARCA start at Kansas Speedway on Friday night (8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

During his career, Hylton competed in 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, winning two races, earning 140 top-five finishes and twice finishing in the runner-up position in the points standings.

But what you really need to know?

Hylton turned 79 years old on August 26th.

That's not a misprint.

Seventy-freakin'-nine years old.

And if the rain holds off, he'll be going 180 miles per hour around the fast 1.5-mile Kansas track. At night.

Think about it.

More importantly, think about how much your own grandfather can scare the living bejeezus out of you at 55 mph on the freeway and then contemplate someone granddad's age going more than three times as fast for an entire race and one run at night, no less.

How old is James Hylton?

  • On the day Hylton was born, German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler expelled U.S. correspondent Dorothy Thompson, the latest reporter to criticize the Hitler regime.
  • On July 8, 1964, the day Hylton made his first start in what's now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville, Va., the No. 1 song in the country was "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys.
  • On March 1, 1970, Hylton won his first Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. On that same night, Ed Sullivan devoted his entire show to The Beatles. Guests Dionne Warwick, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington, Peter Gennaro, Edward Villella and the Muppets all performed Beatles songs. 
  • On Aug. 6, 1972 Hylton won his second and final Cup race, this one at Talladega Superspeedway. On the same day, Hank Aaron hit his 660th and 661st home run, and Geri Halliwell, a/k/a 'Ginger Spice' of The Spice Girls, was born.
  • On March 28, 1993, Hylton drove his last Cup race, piloting the No. 48 Rumple Furniture Pontiac to a 34th-place finish in the TranSouth 500 at Darlington Raceway. The two guys who finished just ahead of Hylton that day? Kenny Wallace was 32nd and Michael Waltrip 33rd.

So, congrats to James Hylton on a noteworthy - and remarkably lengthy - career.

Now please enjoy retirement. Really.