Then, the racing bug took hold and never let go.
After a short stint as a mechanic for NASCAR champion Rex White, and then a champion crew chief for Ned Jarrett, Hylton decided he would give up the crew chief role and get back to the business of driving racecars. And once he got behind the wheel, he never looked back. His second place NASCAR Cup points finish in his 1966 Rookie season is a record that still stands today.
“I appreciate it when somebody comes up and tells me they remember me from the old days.”
He also holds the distinction of being the oldest driver to race in all three of NASCAR’s highest divisions, and of course, he holds that title in ARCA too. He made his 750th career professional stock car start at Pocono last August.
A valuable connection to the past, Hylton is a stark reminder of the brave pioneers who paved the way.
“It’s time to step aside as a driver and turn this car over to the younger generation. I don’t want to lose the Hylton Motorsports race team. I’ll be there next year as the general manager. We are definitely in the market to build up our race team and put younger drivers behind the wheel who can run up front.”
Hylton’s feelings are mixed regarding his final year behind the wheel.
“It’s kind of a love-hate relationship. If I could drive until I was 90 years old, I would. But I need to face the facts. It’s too much of a job to be the driver and manager the team. I’m excited about the future. I feel I have an honest-to-goodness chance to build my team to where we can be competitive. Next time we come to Chicagoland, we will have a car and driver capable of winning the race.”