Johnson just hopes he’s around

James Hylton, a veteran of 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, was made his final start in the ARCA Series Friday afternoon. (Getty Images)
James Hylton, a veteran of 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, was made his final start in the ARCA Series Friday afternoon. (Getty Images)
James Hylton, a veteran of 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, was made his final start in the ARCA Series Friday afternoon. (Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Kan.—At age 79, James Hylton, a veteran of 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, was making his final start in the ARCA Series Friday afternoon- Jimmie Johnson’s spotter, Earl Barban, was set to fill the same role for Hylton’s swan song in the No- 48 Ford-

Asking what he hoped to be doing at age 79, Johnson had a one word answer: “Breathing.”

“I’m excited for him,” Johnson added: “Every time I see him out there in that No. 48, it puts a big smile on my face.”

“But at 79, it’s amazing. He’s truly passionate and loves our sport. It’s nice to see him out there one last time.”

Hylton ran the No. 48 in all but a handful of his 602 Cup starts. He won twice with the number, at Richmond in 1970 and at Talladega in 1972. He last race the No- 48 in the Cup series at Darlington in 1993-

Johnson has won 65 Cup races since taking over the No. 48 in 2001.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.