James Hylton, a two-time winner in NASCAR's premier series, died in a traffic accident Saturday on Interstate 85 in Franklin County, Georgia, coming from an ARCA Series event at Talladega Superseedway, NASCAR.com reported.
Hylton, 83, and his son, James "Tweety" Hylton, Jr., 61, both died in the crash that emergency personnel were called to near mile marker 164 about 6:10 a.m. according to Georgia State Patrol, WSPA-TV reported.
The driver of the GMC truck, reported by the Roanoke Times to be Hylton crew chief Terry Strange, survived the crash and was transported to a hospital in Greenville, South Carolina, NASCAR.com said.
Evelyn Hylton, who lived with her son in Inman, South Carolina, told the Roanoke Times that’s a police officer informed her Saturday morning of the accident in northern Georgia.
"(The officer) said Terry … told them that he thought James was having a heart attack and he looked over at him and lost control of the truck and went across the median and then across the other lane of traffic and hit an embankment," Evelyn Hylton told the Times. "The truck, towing a big trailer with a race car on it, thousands of pounds, you have to be really careful."
Franklin County, Georgia deputy coroner Clayton Bryant told NASCAR.com that the truck with an enclosed trailer left the roadway, and hit a creek bank in the median. He told the website that both Hyltons were pronounced dead at the scene.
"Racing competitively in parts of six decades, James Hylton's dedication, passion and longevity in motorsports is virtually unmatched," NASCAR and ARCA said in a statement, per NASCAR.com. "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.," the statement continued.
NASCAR.com wrote that Hylton made 602 starts in what is now the Monster Energy Series and competed from 1964 to 2007. He captured Rookie of the Year honors in 1966 and finished second three times – 1966, 1967 and 1971 – in the overall standings, the website said.
He broke into NASCAR in its Sportsman ranks and used his automotive mechanic skills to win jobs with Hall of Fame drivers Rex White and during the 1960s, per NASCAR.com.
Hylton went on to become a team owner in the ARCA Series, with Brad Smith driving James Hylton Motorsports'’ No. 48 Ford, NASCAR.com reported.
Hylton was remembered fondly on Twitter.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.