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NASCAR, racing communities react to the death of James Hylton

ARCA Rattlesnake 150

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 16: James Hylton, driver of the #48 Dodge, sits in his car prior to the start of the ARCA Racing Series Rattlesnake 150 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 16, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

John Harrelson

A venerable veteran who made his last attempt at the Daytona 500 as a 74-year-old in 2009, James Hylton’s driving career in national racing series stretched from 1964-2013.

Hylton, 83, and his son were killed in an auto accident in Georgia. They were driving Hylton’s ARCA team trailer back to South Carolina after driver Brad Smith finished last in Friday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

A statement from NASCAR and ARCA read: “Racing competitively in parts of six decades, James Hylton’s dedication, passion and longevity in motorsports is virtually unmatched. Hylton won the rookie of the year at NASCAR’s highest level, the 1972 race at Talladega Superspeedway and regularly contended for championships during the early years of his career. His racing influence continued into the ARCA series, where he competed as a driver and, most recently, a car owner. We have lost a truly special member of the racing family and a beloved figure among generations of competitors and race fans alike. We extend our deepest condolences to the Hylton family on the tragic loss of James Hylton and his son James Jr.”

The two-time Cup winner’s death triggered a wave of remembrance and sympathy from the auto racing world on social media Saturday: