DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 15, 2007) – Come Saturday, Feb. 9, ARCA/REMAX Series fans will have one last shot to see a legend tour the 31-degree high banks of historic Daytona International Speedway.
“This will be my last time to race here at Daytona,” said 73-year-old James Hylton from the garage at historic Daytona International Speedway Saturday, the second day of a three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test session in preparation for the ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. “I want to go out on a high note. I want to win the ARCA race here in February and I’d like to make the Daytona 500. That would be a great way to finish my run here at Daytona.”
Hylton, who has been testing a No. 48 Chevrolet for owner John Carter this weekend, has been a mainstay at DIS since 1959 when the facility first opened. But only this past February, he gained the notoriety fit for a king. Hylton, the 1966 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, was the center of attention prior to 2007 Daytona 500 as he looked to become the oldest man to run in NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race. The media frenzy that went with it is something he enjoyed, but nothing he’ll miss.
“I’m trying to work out a deal to be able to do that again (run in the 50th running of the Daytona 500),” Hylton said. “I don’t have anything yet, but I’m working on getting back in. As far as (2007) went, I think things got a little out of hand with all that. They were writing the story not because I was the greatest driver that ever showed up. It was just hard for a lot of people to believe a 72-year-old man could drive a race car.
“Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed my ’15 minutes of fame,’” he said. “But I respect the age thing. I’ll be around, maybe as a mechanic or something else. But I won’t be behind the wheel.”
Wayne Reutimann enjoying his first taste of DIS
David Reutimann remembers his first laps around the historic Daytona International Speedway and didn’t want to miss his cousin Wayne Reutimann’s first experience at “The World Center of Racing.”
David Reutimann, who drives for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series, was in attendance on Saturday as his cousin Wayne continues his preparation for the ARCA 200 on Saturday, Feb. 9 at DIS.
David Reutimann formed a race team this off-season for his cousin Wayne to compete in select ARCA RE/MAX Series races that are held in conjunction with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events.
“I would have liked to have been here yesterday to actually be able to see him make his first laps,” said David Reutimann, a native of Zephyrhills. “I still remember how it felt when I made my first laps around Daytona. I’m just glad we actually made it (here). Things kind of came together at the last
“We don’t really have a very good piece for him right now. We’re going to have to take it back and it’s going to have some major renovations on it but we kind of knew that when we came down here. We just wanted to get him some laps and get him use to the format of the Speedway and how ARCA does things. Hopefully, we’ll come back down here when it counts and be a lot quicker.”
Wayne Reutimann, 19, has been working his way up the motorsports ladder in the USAC Silver Crown Series and is grateful that his brother is creating this opportunity for him.
“This has come about because of my cousin David,” Wayne said. “He got to the point that it was kind of time for us to try to run a few ARCA shows and get some speedway experience and I was like ‘Heck ya, I’ll do that.’ Yesterday, we got to roll out a stock car for the first time on Daytona. I can’t explain to you what that was like but it was pretty awesome.
“To put it in perspective, I’ll have between six to 10 family members here today because you only get to go to Daytona once in your life. They are millions of people that want to be here and drive a race car around here. For me to be able to do it is pretty special.”
David Reutimann is receiving plenty of assistance from Michael Waltrip Racing. For the time being, his operation is working out of the Michael Waltrip Racing shop, he acquired a couple of MWR superspeedway cars and some of the MWR crew members have been helping prepare them during the nighttime hours.
“We’re still in the process of building the program,” said David Reutimann, whose Nationwide Series crew chief Jerry Baxter has been in attendance at the test. “Everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing, the guys in the fab shop, they’ve been working at night during their off time doing different things trying to help me along. I owe a lot to those guys. They really can’t do it during the day, but at night they come in and work on the cars. That’s pretty big, They are a dedicated bunch and helping us get here.”
Saturday’s Top 10 Speeds:
- Erik Darnell, Ford, 180.545 mph
- Landon Cassill, Chevy, 179.910
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 179.878
- Frank Kimmel, Dodge, 179.756
- John Townley, Ford, 179.698
- James Buescher, Dodge, 179.644
- Dexter Bean, Chevy, 179.623
- Scott Speed, Toyota, 179.608
- Dominick Casola, Dodge, 179.044
- Matt Carter, Ford, 179.994
Chase Austin, Chevy, 178.809
James Hylton, Dodge, 177.508
Wayne Reutimman, Toyota, 177.040
Test open to the public
The ARCA RE/MAX Series test continues on Sunday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of Daytona 500 Experience.
DIRECTV Speedweeks Tickets
Tickets for the ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Saturday, Feb. 9 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks events are available online at www.racetickets.com
or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.