• Nov 27, 2008
Racing is a young man's pursuit. Sometimes a young lady's pursuit, too. But try telling that to James Hylton. He was once NASCAR rookie of the year... in 1966. That's not a typo, and he's been racing pretty much ever since.

This year Hylton will attempt to qualify once again for the Daytona 500, stock car racing's most celebrated event, appropriately held in Florida. He made an attempt last year, but had to, um...retire due to a broken hip clutch. If he makes the grid this year at age 74, he'll be the oldest driver ever to run the Daytona 500. But his team isn't planning on letting gramps take a nap after that, as they're hoping he'll stay for the full season. Well ain't that a kick in the head!

[Source: Autosport, Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty]



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  • 23 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Will his car be sponsored by Metamucil?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Viagra silly ;) As a 40 something, stories like this now give me hope :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Today,s generation of over eating,smoking.drinking & spending won,t even see 70, much less race. Newman raced way past 70 & just ak any 78 yr young(me)----70 ain,t old if one takes care. Playing with cars helps too! Anybody wanna buy my 64 Vette custom?
      • 6 Years Ago
      i just dont see how this can be safe for anyone on the track. im sure he can still drive, but his reflex's and alertness are no where near that of drives half his age. id really hate to see him cause a crash.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I wouldn't worry about it for 2 reasons:

        1.) They probably won't qualify.

        2.) If they do, they will either park the car and bank $250,000+ for finishing last, or he will be too slow for the field and lose the draft, which will leave him all alone on the track running practice laps.

        Either way, he raced perfectly fine last year during the duel races, so I wouldn't worry.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope he races good... but to my mind came, Driving Miss Daisy with Morgan Freeman driving extremelly careful and slow when he was older in the movie.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This settles the argument if racing is a real sport or not.

      If a 70 year old man can compete with 20 and 30 year olds the answer is "not".
        • 6 Years Ago
        i guess brett favre proved football isn't a real sport either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Who said the guy was a star, John? He is trying to make a race? This is like him trying to make the team for an NBA franchise. Does that mean basketball is not a sport? The odds are unless there are less than 43 team at the 500 next year he won't even make the race. Please get off your soap box.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well in real racing, they have to stay in such top physical condition that they usually retire or move to less intensive series well before they reach 40.

        In NASCAR, well, come on
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, according to your argument, football isn't a sport because a 60 got to play:

        http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/21283090/

        And of course basketball isn't a sport either since this 73 played in a game:

        http://msn.foxsports.com/cbk/story/8710842?MSNHPHCP>1=39002


        Don't make dumb comments.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So show me a 70 year old NBA star. Show me a 70 year old NFL star. Show me any sport where it takes real athletic ability and I will show you a sport where it is extremely rare for someone over 40 to compete. And no I'm not talking about a publicity stunt like you mention or a 70 year old Gordie Howe playing one shift in a minor league hockey game. That's not playing the sport. It's a cheap attempt to get attention.

        It does not take an athlete to drive a car. Skill, sure. But not athletic ability.

        You probably think a 280 lb lardo on the golf course like John Daily is an athlete too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Who says James Hylton is a star? He couldn't even make the field last year, and if he were to make it in 09 he would finish dead last. He is in no way in his "prime" at this age. Do you really think he is doing this for anything else but for the love of the sport? Its the same deal as what those other seniors did.

        But for people like you to suggest that just because he is old and that he might qualify for a race, then NASCAR must be easy and not a sport.

        Grow up.



        And any one person can play any sport if they were given a chance. This applies to everything. Just because one person doesn't fit the demographic doesn't make all other participants irrelevant. If I entered a car for you at the 12 hrs of Sebering yet you aren't an athlete, doesn't mean we go around saying everyone racing in LeMans isn't one either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Or he could be really, really good like the late Phil Hill or Sir Stirling Moss. These two could probably whip most of these young drivers with both hands behind their back, so I'm guessing skill kinda plays a role in this.

        • 6 Years Ago
        So John... What about Mario Andretti's last win (at 53 years old) in 1993's CART Phoenix race? Does that invalidate the other TWO former WDC's in that race... what about all the 20 & 30 something driver competing that day??

        Paul Newman (+ a few younger team mates) won their class at the Daytona 24? I'm sure Mr Newman was just an attention whore promoting his 70th BIRTHDAY?? Yeah right! Pull more outta your arse.

        Derek Bell & Hurley Haywood are heath nuts & have won Daytona & Sebring in their mid 50's... their times competitive with their YOUNGER teammates.

        I could go on for pages of why you sound like a 1st class jacka$$... who has no clue of the athletic skill it takes to throw around a race car on a razor's edge... especially in a professional/ national race series.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, that settles the argument that Nascar isn't real racing
      • 6 Years Ago
      More power to him. He, and drivers like Dave Marcis, Dick Trickle, and Red Farmer, just go to show that racing doesn't have to be a young man's pursuit.

      And let's face it: there's probably not a one of you who would turn down the opportunity if you were given the chance, whether you're 15 (too many of you, judging from the comments) or 75.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Brings a whole new meaning to working after retirement.

      I hope they make the race, EM could use some money.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "There are only two sports: Bullfighting and auto racing, the rest are all just games because they don't include the element of "death."
        • 6 Years Ago
        skydiving?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The quote was by Ernest Hemingway.
        • 6 Years Ago
        boxing
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