Driver, owner, mechanic, crew chief
Born in Depression-era Virginia, Hylton would do more with less than almost any NASCAR driver. With scant funding, Hylton finished second in NASCAR Cup Series points on three occasions (1966 to David Pearson in Hylton’s Rookie of the Year season, 1967 and ‘71 to Richard Petty) and third on four occasions (1969, 1970, 1972 and 1975). Between 1966 and 1977, he finished in the Top 10 in points 10 times. In 1971, Hylton pushed for the inclusion of fellow independent drivers in NASCAR’s “Winner’s Circle” financial incentive program, helping NASCAR recover from the low car counts of the ‘71 season. In all, Hylton made 602 Cup Series starts, collecting 2 wins, 4 poles and 301 Top 10s. Prior to that, Hylton was a mechanic on Rex White’s 1960 NASCAR Cup championship team and served as crew chief for 1965 Cup champion Ned Jarrett. Tragically, Hylton was killed in an interstate crash along with his son, James Jr. The two were returning from the scene of Hylton's greatest win, Talladega Superspeedway.