James Hylton To Take Final Checkered Flag at Pocono MEMPHIS, TN (July 18, 2006) - When the checkered flag falls at the end of the 2006 Pennsylvania 200 on Saturday, it won't just signify the end of the race, it will signify the end of an era.
James Hylton To Take Final Checkered Flag at Pocono
MEMPHIS, TN (July 18, 2006) - When the checkered flag falls at the end of the 2006 Pennsylvania 200 on Saturday, it won't just signify the end of the race, it will signify the end of an era. The first NASCAR race held at Pocono was the 1974 Purolator 500, which was won by Richard Petty driving a 74 Dodge. Also in the field that day were other legends, including Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, Benny Parsons, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson. These drivers were the top talent of the early Winston Cup era and have all since retired from the sport. However, there is one legendary driver from that race that is still racing his name into the history books, James Hylton.
Hylton unfortunately recorded a rare DNF in the 1974 race as the ignition failed in his Chevrolet. His luck would prove better the next year, as he wheeled his Nitro Nine sponsored Chevrolet to a ninth place finish in the 1975 Purolator 500. During his career, James has competed 16 times in both ARCA RE/MAX and NASCAR NEXTEL CUP events at Pocono Speedway. In June 2006, Hylton recorded a 21st place finish in his 2005 Ford Taurus at the Pocono 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series event. This Saturday's Pennsylvania 200 will be his last start at the track.
"It's a wonderful place to race," states Hylton "the scenic views plus the hospitality of the Mattioli family makes this one of my favorite tracks. When it comes to taking care of the crews and drivers, the Mattioli's are in a league by themselves". Over a ten year period beginning in 1990, the Mattioli's spent over three million dollars in improvements to the track infrastructure culminating in one of the finest racing facilities in the country today.
"The track is very forgiving in that it is fairly wide" stated Hylton "I only wrecked once during a race and that was in the 1981 Mountain Dew 500. My crew chief told me I needed tires and I didn't think I did because we only 15 laps to go in the race. He was right because I blew a tire out and into the wall I went".
Starting at the 2006 Pocono 200, Hylton began utilizing a retro paint scheme which paid homage to the Pop Kola sponsored Mercury's and Fords of 1972. James placed 21st in that race and would have brought home a higher finishing position had it not been for losing two laps to a radio/communication problem early in the race.
"Pocono is the only track that I have ran where you are instructed to watch out for deer on the track during the drivers meeting" states James "I even seen a black bear at the track. I am really going to miss coming here as a driver, this track is an absolute winner"