NASCAR: Hylton’s retirement catches attention, appreciation of NASCAR, ARCA
James Hylton finished 18th in last Friday night’s ARCA Racing Series race at the Kansas Speedway. And when he climbed out of his Ford, he vowed to never race again.
Apparently more than 59 years of racing was enough.
Hylton, 79, leaves the driver’s seat as the oldest driver in NASCAR and ARCA history.
“I’m retiring at the end of the day, but my heart is wanting to keep going,” Hylton said. “But it’s a done deal. I won’t be back as a driver.”
Since NASCAR also was at Kansas, Hylton got a grand sendoff. Both NASCAR and ARCA honored the driver before the race. Other drivers provided their own farewells.
“I think it says a lot about somebody that wants to go out there and has a passion, desire to do that,” Jeff Gordon said. “I don’t have any real stories racing with James other than he just seems like he has been around forever.”
Jimmie Johnson, 38, said he can’t imagine being in a race car when he’s 79. In fact, he laughed when he said he hopes to be “breathing” at that age.
“At 79, it’s amazing,” Johnson said. “He’s truly passionate and loves our sport. It’s nice to see him out there one last time.”
A LITTLE HELP FROM SOME FRIENDS:
A hard crash dropped Kyle Busch from second to fifth in the Chase for the Championship standings after last Sunday’s race at Kansas, so he probably will turn to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth for some help.
The only problem is Kenseth also is trying to win the championship.
Competition between teammates isn’t new in NASCAR. But it really tests the resolve and commitment to cooperate when one teammate’s success may have to come at expense of another.
“The things we’ve been doing all year long, we’ve been sharing some great information,” Busch said. “We both have similar feedback. We both share similar feelings in the racecar of how we’re feeling, how to get the most out of our equipment. The 18 [Busch’s car] and the 20 [Kenseth] team work really well together.
“The things we have to continue to do is just that, we have to continue to work together.”
Kenseth leads the playoff standings by just three points over Jimmie Johnson. Since Busch is 35 points back, most of his attention likely will be aimed at Johnson.
“But at the end of the day, it’s about your respective team and I think being a good teammate is really – throughout the meetings, during the week – sharing information and practice you find something that your helps your car and you go talk to them about it, work with their crews, work with the driver.”
Once the race starts, Kenseth said Busch is just another competitor.
“At race time, it’s racing,” he said. “They drop the green and everybody is going to go out and try to get the best finish they can get for themselves.”
Kenseth said his team won’t keep any secrets from either Busch or JGR driver Denny Hamlin. He joked it’s very difficult to have secrets at their race shop.
“Our shop is round so we don’t have any corners, so we all share equally,” he said. “It’s one big circle. It’s like the circle of trust – we’re all in it.”
Former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crew chief Jimmy Elledge has been hired as the new crew chief at the No. 51 Chevrolet at Phoenix Racing. The team recently was sold to Harry Scott and the team is rebuilding a lot of its roster … Crew chief Chad Johnston has asked for his release at Michael Waltrip Racing as that team continues to recover from allegations that it manipulated the outcome of the Sept. 7 race at the Richmond International Raceway. Martin Truex Jr. was kicked out of the Chase for the Championship as a penalty, and since then longtime sponsor NAPA has pulled its support from the team. Truex is looking for work, and Johnston wanted the freedom to also find a new job.