DAYTONA - It's been quite a ride for 78-year-old James Hylton, and part of his journey is coming to a close.
As reported in today's Daytona Beach News-Journal, Hylton has announced his retirement from driving race cars. The 2013 season will mark his farewell tour behind the wheel of his famous No. 48.
"I've been thinking about this for quite a while," Hylton said. "I'm 78, and the time has come."
Hylton made 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts since 1964, winning twice at Talladega and Richmond. Since 1997, Hylton has made 143 ARCA starts.
"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 Daytona, we will have a car and driver capable of winning the race."