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Neil "Soapy" Castles
Born: October 1, 1934
Home: Charlotte, NC

Racer Profile: Neil Castle    By Allen Madding      Posted on June 21, 2006

Born Oct 1, 1934 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Neil "Soapy" Castles made his NASCAR Grand National Division debut June 20, 1957 at the half-mile dirt Columbia Speedway in Columbia, North Carolina driving Bill Championís No. 5 Ford starting 17th and finishing 18th. Castles returned to the Grand National ranks at Darlington driving his own No. 68 Ford making another 3 starts for a total of 5 for the year. Castleís returned to the circuit for

15 events in 1958 driving his No. 68 Ford and Spook Crawfordís No. 66 Plymouth. His best finish in 1958 was a 15th place showing at Columbia. In 1959, Castles made 5 events. He drove his own No. 80 Chevrolet and No. 86 Ford, as well as Harvey Hegeís No. 28 Mercury and the No. 91 Ford. His best finish in 1959 was a 12th place finish at the half-mile dirt Concord Speedway. He also fielded the No. 86 Ford for driver Erwin Carpenter at Martinsville.

Castles campaigned his own No. 80 Ford in 18 Grand National Division events in 1960 recording 5 top-10 finishes including a career best 7th place finish at Greenville-Pickens. Castles was absent from the 1961 season, but returned in 1962 to run 8 events in his No. 76 Ford recording a 10th place finish at the half-mile dirt Rambi Raceway at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He also fielded the No. 76 Ford for Jim Bray at Richmond. Bray finished 16th.

Buck Baker hired Castles to drive his No. 86 Chrysler in 1963. Together they made starts beginning with the seasonís 16th event at Greenville-Pickens. Castles finished 6th in their first outing together and went on to record 2 top-5s and 8 top-10s including a 4th place finish at Rambi Raceway. Castles drove the No. 86 and No. 88 for Baker in 1964 for 58 of the seasonís 62 events scoring 1 top-5 and 24 top-10s. Castles made 51 starts in the 55 events of 1965 Ė 49 driving for Buck Baker, 1 driving Curtis Larimerís No. 56 Ford at Bristol and 1 driving Bill Championís No. 72 Ford. For the season, Castles scored 6 top-5s, 28 top-10s, and finished 8th in the Grand National points. Castles entered 41 of the 49 events in 1966 driving for Buck Baker in 40 events and driving Homer OíDellís No. 96 Ford at Hickory. He recorded 7 top-5s and 17 top-10s to finish 9th in the Championship points.

Castles made 35 starts in the 1967 seasonís 49 events, campaigning his own No. 06 Dodge and No. 91 Plymouth in 23 events, Buck Bakerís No. 87 and No.

88 Oldsmobile in 3 events, Emory Gilliamís No. 00 Plymouth in 5 events, and Garland Millerís No. 09 Chevrolet in 3 events. Castles scored 4 top-5s and 15 top-10s for his efforts to finish 8th in the points. Castles also fielded the No. 91 Plymouth for Fats Caruso at Oxford Plains Speedway, for Jim Conway at Weaverville, the No. 91 Plymouth and the No. 06 Dodge for Elmer Gilliam at Trenton, New Jersey, Fonda, New York, and Islip, New York, the No. 91 Plymouth for Walter Wallace at Nashville, and the No. 06 Plymouth for Cale Yarborough at North Wilkesboro.

In 1968, Castles made 44 starts in the yearís 48 events driving his own No. 06 Dodge, No. 06 Plymouth, and No. 88 Oldsmobile in 43 events and driving Ervin Pruittís No. 57 Dodge at Orange Speedway, Hillsboro, North Carolina where he finished third. All told, Castles recorded 4 top-5s and

15 top-10s in 1968. He fielded his No. No. 06 Plymouth for Buck Baker at Richmond, for Ray Hill at Hillsboro, and for Dub Simpson at Daytona.

In 1969, Castles made 52 of the yearís 54 events driving his own No. 06 Dodge and Plymouths in 50 events and Ray Foxís No. 3 Dodge in two events.

He recorded a career high second place finish at Beltsville, Maryland and at Hickory, North Carolina to garner 14 top-5s and 30 top-10s to finish 4th in the NASCAR Grand National Division Championship points. He also fielded his car for Bill Champion at Beltsville, for Ed Nerge at Dover, Thompson, Connecticut, and at Tenton, for Dub Simpson at Rockingham, and for Les Snow at Talladega.

For 1970, Castles started in 47 of the seasonís 48 events. He drove his own No. 06 Dodge in all but one, driving John Searís No. 4 Dodge at North Wilkesboro. Castles led 31 laps during the season and scored 12 top-5s and

24 top-10s finishing 5th in the championship points. He also fielded cars for Bobby Allison at Hickory, Buddy Baker at Ona, West Virginia, and Roy Tyner at Michigan.

Castles made 38 starts in the 48 event 1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Series driving his own No. 06 in 36 events, Don Robertsonís No. 32 Ford at Trenton, New Jersey and G. C. Spencerís No. 49 Plymouth at Charlotte.

Castles recorded 1 top-5 and 10 top-10s. He fielded cars for Buddy Baker at Trenton, Bill Champion at Daytona, Frog Fagan at Islip, Ed Hessert at Malta, New York, Bobby Mausgrover in 11 events, and for Frank Warren at Hickory. Castles started his No. 06 Dodge and Plymouths in 21 of the 1972 seasonís 31 events recording 1 top-10 finish. He fielded his car for Ed Hessert at Daytona and for Dave Marcis at North Wilkesboro. In 1973, Howardís Furniture sponsored Castleís No. 06 Dodge in 8 Winston Cup Series events.

Unfortunately, Castles was plagued with 8 DNFís in the 8 starts suffering mechanical failures and becoming involved in crashes.

Castles entered the No. 06 Howards Furniture Dodge in 13 events and drove Doc Faustinaís No. 5 Dodge at Rockingham in 1974. His best finish for the year was a 15th place showing at Richmond while suffering thru 12 DNFís.

He also fielded a Late Model Sportsman No. 06 Dodge at Charlotte in October 1974 for Dale Earnhardt in his first appearance at Charlotte. Earnhardt finished 13th in the event.

Castles entered 7 events in 1975 driving his own No. 5 Dodge and No. 06 Chevrolet but suffered DNFís in all 7 starts. He also fielded his car for Harry Gant at Charlotte.

He returned to the driverís seat for a final season in 1976 making 3 starts driving his No. 06 Chevrolet and Doc Faustinaís No. 5 Chevrolet and Dodge but again suffered DNFís in all 3 starts. He also fielded his No. 6 Chevrolet for Bobby Isaac at Charlotte.

In 19 years as a driver, Neil Castles recorded 498 starts, 51 top-5s and 178 top-10s.

                                  story from SpeedwayMedia.com

         buy this picture from HighBankSlope on eBay


Neil "Soapy" Castles drove his #06 Dodge Daytona in 16 races during the 1970 season. He logged 4 top 10 finishes in the Winged machine. Castles wound up fifth in the final 1970 NASCAR Grand National point chase and briefly sat atop the standings in March.
 

The 1972 Grand National East season would began in Jacksonville FL, with a victory by David Pearson.  The series winners for 1972, would for the most part be the upper echelon drivers from Winston Cup.  Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Bobby Issac and Buddy Baker would win 10 of the 15 races held in 1972, while Grand National regulars Neil Castles and Elmo Langley would win three more.   Max Berrier, a part-time Grand National Driver from the fifties, would win the other two races.   Each race contained a fair number of Winston Cup drivers and cars and provided fans at the smaller tracks like Hickory and Kingsport, a chance to see their heroes race in person.

Neil Castles would win the 1972 Grand National East title by a thin margin over NASCAR veteran Elmo Langley.  Castles began racing in NASCAR in 1957 and had run Grand National full-time since 1964 with 51 top-5 finishes in 445 starts.  Castles raced Dodges and Plymouths from his own stable during the season and would win at Greeneville-Pickens and Smokey Mountain Speedway as well as recording six second place finishes.  He would also compete in 21 Winston Cup races during 1972 and finished  30th in points.


The following story is taken from the book AMERICAN ZOOM by Peter Golenbock.

Neil Castles was an also-ran of the old days who once found himself having an uncharacteristically good day. He had lapped Curtis Turner, but the flagman apparently didn't believe it, for he kept giving Castles the move-over flag to let Turner around him.

As Castles told the story: "The starter kept doing this, and I was getting real mad, so I just picked up my gun and when I come by the stand the next time I took aim and shot that (bleep) flag out of his hand."

Note: Page under construction. Please send stories or pictures for inclusion.

Neil Castles Winston Cup DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1957 22 5 of 53 0 0 0 0 492 0 475 123 26.5 31.4
1958 23 15 of 51 0 0 0 0 1797 0 805   22.6 24.7
1959 24 5 of 44 0 0 0 0 754 0 410 77 27.2 22.4
1960 25 18 of 44 0 0 5 0 2293 0 2,125 145 16.1 14.8
1962 27 8 of 53 0 0 1 0 547 0 620   19.8 19.1
1963 28 28 of 55 0 2 8 0 4093 0 5,590 31 19.1 16.1
1964 29 58 of 62 0 1 24 0 8336 0 14,318 17 19.6 16.3
1965 30 51 of 55 0 6 28 0 9768 0 22,329 8 18.1 12.6
1966 31 41 of 49 0 7 17 0 8824 0 19,034 9 21.9 13.7
1967 32 35 of 49 0 4 15 0 6754 0 20,682 8 20.5 14.7
1968 33 44 of 49 0 4 15 0 9072 0 19,506 12 19.0 15.3
1969 34 52 of 54 0 14 30 0 13136 29 54,367 4 15.7 11.1
1970 35 47 of 48 0 12 24 0 10297 31 49,746 5 14.9 13.7
1971 36 38 of 48 0 1 10 0 6946 10 22,939 22 19.4 22.5
1972 37 21 of 31 0 0 1 0 4075 0 18,760 30 25.7 27.4
1973 38 8 of 28 0 0 0 0 869 0 7,074 55 27.5 32.4
1974 39 14 of 30 0 0 0 0 1422 0 12,479 37 22.7 30.1
1975 40 7 of 30 0 0 0 0 578 0 4,190 43 24.6 29.1
1976 41 3 of 30 0 0 0 0 350 0 1,405   24.0 29.3
19 years 498 0 51 178 0 90403 70 276,854   19.4 17.0



 

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