(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 14, 2013) - 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."
Happy Birthday Bill Venturini: Two-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driving champion Bill Venturini, and now co-owner of Venturini Motorsports, is celebrating his 60th birthday Valentine's Day Thursday.
Venturini Motorsports, 4 Cars at Daytona, Still Looking for First Win at Daytona: Venturini Motorsports has 26 career ARCA wins since 1983, but not one at Daytona, although they'll have four shots at it this year. John Wes Townley, whose career-best finish of third was here at Daytona in 2010, is entered in Venturini's No. 15 Zaxby's Toyota. Rookie Justin Boston (No. 25 ZLOOP Toyota) will make his career-first ARCA start at Daytona, and will run the full season in Venturini's flagship car. Milka Duno (No. 35 Cantv-Milka Way Toyota) has also announced a full season, starting here at Daytona. Darrell Wallace Jr. will occupy Venturini's fourth entry - the No. 55 Toyota Manufacturing Toyota. Wallace, a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and a former participant in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, will make his first Daytona start. The ARCA race at Daytona will serve as a means for Wallace to gain superspeedway experience in prep for a full season driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2013.
Canadian Gresel Gets Assist from Veteran Crew Chief David Ifft: Hepworth, Ontario rookie Andrew Gresel, who's making his career-first ARCA start at Daytona in the Wes Gonder-owned No. 38 Sauble Falls Tent & Trailer Park Ford, is getting some help from veteran crew chief David Ifft. Ifft is here as a consultant for Gresel. Ifft earned 27 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins a as crew chief with Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons, Darrell Waltrip and Buddy Baker, to name a few. Ifft also prepared superspeedway ARCA cars for Lee Raymond during Raymond's two championship seasons. Gresel was the Delaware Speedway Park (London, Ontario) late model track champion in 2011 and finished second in points there in 2010 and 2012.
Will Kimmel's Retro Throwback Paint Scheme: Third generation driver Will Kimmel is running a specially-designed retro paint scheme here at Daytona, very similar to the paint scheme is grandfather Bill Kimmel, Sr. used throughout his career. The scheme includes an overall red car with white wheels, white numbers, and a black hood. While Will's name occupies the driver side, his grandfather's name is on the passenger side. Kimmel finished third in the same car here at Daytona last year.
Kimmel Racing enters second car with 60-year-old crop-duster and rookie Steve Kemp: Justin, Texas driver Steve Kemp will make his career-first ARCA start here at Daytona in a second Kimmel Racing entry. Kemp, who owns a trucking company back home, is also an instrument-rated commercial pilot who has logged more than 5,000 hours as a crop duster. He credits the hand-eye coordination that he used in crop dusting with helping his skills as a race car driver. as what will serve him well as a race car driver. Although Kemp is a rookie in the ARCA ranks, he drove six years as an instructor for Team Texas at Texas Motor Speedway.
Frank Kimmel "Chasin Iggy": Nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel owns nearly every all-time stat in ARCA except in the category of all-time wins. Iggy Katona, who won three times at Daytona including in 1974 at the age of 57, is currently the all-time ARCA winner with 79 victories. Kimmel trails in second with 76. And while Kimmel has won nearly everywhere on tour, the Clarksville, Indiana driver has nary a win at Daytona in 21 consecutive tries. As a reminder of Kimmel's pursuit of Katona's all-time win mark, Kimmel's team computer monitor in the ARCA garage is covered with a photo of Katona with the caption "Chasin' Iggy" across the screen.
Bo Lemastus Working with NASCAR Veteran Geoff Bodine: Rookie Bo Lemastus is getting assistance for his career-first start at Daytona from NASCAR veteran driver Geoff Bodine, who will be serving in the capacity of coach and raceday spotter for Lemastus's No. 42 Crosley Radio Dodge. Lemastus is CEO of Crosley Radio, which manufacturers vintage electronics under the Crosley brand. Lemastus recently purchased the complete inventory from Mark Gibson Racing for the 2013 ARCA Racing Series season. Lemastus's racing background includes 20 years in AMA motorcycle racing and five years of SCCA road course racing.