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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.