I thought that I would share a funny story about an experince I had with James Hilton a few years ago.......
I was actually James Hilton's crew chief at Pocono for a few minutes!!! let me explain......As I was walking thru the hot pits before an ARCA race at Pocono in the late 80's, A man reached out and grabbed me by the sleeve pulled me next to him and said: When you hear that man up there call out my name (James Hilton), I will yell "here", then when he calls out "crew chief", you yell, "here".
What I did not realize at first was that the ARCA driver's meeting was about to start and apparently James Hilton's crew chief overslept or something, so he needed a random voice from the crowd to "stand in" as his crew chief. When the time came, I yelled "here" as planned and the ARCA officials were none the wiser.
I talked with James for a few minutes afterward, he thanked me and he went racing and I went to the grandstands to cheer him on. He fell out of the race early, but ever since I have been a fan of his.
He has made a career out of racing in the big time series with little to no support. One the last true independant racers. It would have been awesome to seem him make the 500....
Back in the mid 70's my Dad was asked to drive one of Hiltons cars at the 600. He qualified mid pack and blowed the engine in final practice. They worked all night to get the car ready for the race on Sunday. After diver intro Hilton told Dad to park the car after two laps. Made Dad's crew and my Dad upset. After that Hilton mailed Dad a $200 check. Dad sent it back with a note saying he(Hilton) needed it more than him. Dad just couldn't beleive he wanted showup money more than seeing how the car would finish. Also what upset him more was that Dad felt bad about someone he outqualified didn't make the race that runs the full schedule. It is just his personality. Just not a love for that man in this family.
As a DIRT Modified driver myself i have to say that i couldnt imagine going to the race track with any intent other then to hit the track on kill mode for everylap. But this thread is about James Hilton so i have to say that i respect him for trying but i have to think they would have rooted him out of the draft before it was all over. Still kool to see an indepentent driver from the 70s run well.
My Dad won the Nascar Grand American Series that same year. He looked at it as a chance to step up and show his talent. It was blown away then. I understand that the show up money was there. But don't burst someones bubble just for that. It was kinda good to see someone from the 70's doing well at Daytona, but just don't have a place for him. Rather see Dave Marcus do it.
But Hylton is/was a pioneer in the 70's. Off my bandwagon now.
I know a guy that did that in the Busch series a couple of times in the last few years. I does'nt make it right, but it obviously pays the bills. What I hate is it bumps out people who are giving it there all and would run the entire race.