NASCAR officials have confirmed that James Hylton, who started 602 Cup races during his career, and his son James Hylton, Jr., were killed a traffic accident Saturday morning.
The accident happened near mile marker 164 in the northbound lane of Interstate 85 at 6:10 a.m. ET Saturday morning. According to reports, the vehicle ran off the roadway left and hit an embankment. The duo were returning to South Carolina from Friday's ARCA race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
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 elder Hylton made his NASCAR Cup debut in 1964, running as an independent and starting 602 races, winning twice. The first victory came in 1970 at Richmond with the second coming at Talladega in 1972. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1966 and finished runner-up in the championship standings three times during his career.
Hylton also attempted 21 Daytona 500s between 1966 and 2007, finishing as high as third in 1967.
He later moved his organization to the ARCA Racing Series, which was recently acquired by NASCAR. There he started 175 races as a driver, making his final start at the age of 78 in 2013. As an owner, he fielded a car in 638 Cup and 413 ARCA events with Kirk Shelmerdine earning the team its lone ARCA win in 2003.
Statement from NASCAR and ARCA
“Racing competitively in parts of six decades, James Hylton’s dedication, passion and longevity in motorsports is virtually unmatched. Hylton won the rookie of the year at NASCAR’s highest level, the 1972 race at Talladega Superspeedway and regularly contended for championships during the early years of his career. His racing influence continued into the ARCA series, where he competed as a driver and, most recently, a car owner. We have lost a truly special member of the racing family and a beloved figure among generations of competitors and race fans alike. We extend our deepest condolences to the Hylton family on the tragic loss of James Hylton and his son James Jr.”