TOLEDO, Ohio (July 15, 2017) -- You're never too old to learn. So don't be surprised if you see Hylton Motorsports show up at the track in a school bus in the near future.
After hearing the news about James Hylton's highway accident that totaled his truck and race car trailer, the calls for help came in out of the woodwork.
First up was John Corr and his son Sean of Empire Racing Group (No. 46 ARCA team), who donated a TransTech school bus to Hylton. With the right hitch, it could easily become a tow vehicle to and from the race track.
“When James came to ERG in Mooresville to pick up his school bus, he was very grateful, and reminded us of a time when he use to drive a school bus to races with NASCAR," said Sean Corr. “We have always helped James in the past and we had this old school bus that was retired and so it seemed like the right thing to do.”
In the meantime, Hylton's also getting by with help from his many friends across the racing community.
"We're very fortunate to have so many friends stepping in to help," said Hylton. "It was awfully nice of Mr. Corr to help…said they'd help me any way I need. It's really a nice rig. Looks like I'm going to school, and I guess I still am."
Hylton flipped his rig on I-40 last Sunday coming back from Iowa Speedway. Hylton, his son James Hylton, Jr. and longtime crew member Terry Strange were banged up and bruised, but otherwise okay. While the truck and trailer are a complete loss, ole' No. 48 is still salvageable.
"We're repairing it now," Hylton continued. "It won't be perfect…the strap broke and it rolled over…there's sheet metal damage but no real structural damage. It'll be a little rough up close, but raceable by Indianapolis. It'll take us a few weeks to get it more presentable, but we'll be there race-ready…be good as ever."
Empire Racing was not the only team to reach out.
"Seems like every team has called. Mr. Cunningham called and said if we need anything…several teams called. It was pretty amazing."
Hylton even heard from an old friend from way back.
"Johnny Davis called me…sent a truck and trailer down to Tennessee to retrieve everything. He's going to let us use his rig to get to the next race…we don't have a hitch on the school bus yet.
"Johnnie and I go back a long way. I’m the one who got him in racing. Many years ago, he rode up to my shop and wanted a job. I asked him if he ever worked on a race car. He said, 'No sir, but I'm a quick learner.' He was right about that. He stayed with me for five years before he went on his own. Now that he's had a chance to help me out, he's really stood up…makes me feel real good. He's the one keeping me in racing now…I'm real proud of it."
Empire Racing's crew chief and general manager Mike "Grumpy" Cheek also followed up with Hylton.
"Grumpy had a real big hand in the deal…he's volunteered his help any way he can."
Cheek is well aware of Hylton's "icon" status in stock car racing.
“We have always tried to help Mr. Hylton the best that we can," said Cheek. "Mr. Hylton is an icon in the ARCA racing world and he has earned the right to continue to race as long as he can. Mr. Hylton deserves that respect."
Hylton is the 1966 NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year and still the only driver in Cup history to finish runner-up in championship points in his rookie season. The Inman, S.C. racing legend finished second in Cup points three times, twice to Richard Petty and once to David Pearson.