By Doug Halberstadt
In the world of NASCAR, most fans in this area know that former Rockfordian Chad Knaus is the four-time champion crew chief for Jimmie Johnson. What may not be as well known is that another former Rockford resident, Butch Hylton, is experiencing some well-deserved success in the sport. He was the winning crew chief for Tony Stewart in last Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.
Hylton and Stewart teamed up to win the Drive4COPD 300 at the Daytona International Speedway last Saturday, Feb. 13. Stewart finished ahead of the 2008 series champion, Carl Edwards. He led the final 20 laps of the race after an 11-minute red flag for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s accident. Stewart took command for his 15th win in a stock car at Daytona, moving him into a tie with Cale Yarborough for third all-time at the historic track. He now trails only Dale Earnhardt (34 wins) and Bobby Allison (16) for most at Daytona. Among his 15 victories are wins in the exhibition Budweiser Shootout, the Daytona 500 qualifying races and the July Sprint Cup Series race. He has yet to win the Daytona 500 in 12 attempts.
In winning the season-opener, Stewart achieved several milestones: he won the February Nationwide race at Daytona for the third consecutive time and fifth overall, and he claimed his sixth victory in the series on restrictor-plate superspeedways, tying Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the career lead in that category.
Hylton will call the shots for the No.4 Ritz Crackers Chevrolet piloted by Stewart for the remainder of the 2010 Nationwide Series season.
Hylton has more than 17 years of experience in NASCAR. He has more than 20 race wins as a crew chief for a number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. He was the crew chief for 2000 Sprint Cup Champion Bobby Labonte and for 2003 Nationwide Series Champion Brian Vickers.
From the Feb. 17-23, 2010 issue