|Neil "Soapy" Castles|
October 1, 1934|
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
|Achievements||1972 NASCAR Grand National East Series Champion|
|Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career|
|498 races run over 19 years|
|Best finish||4th (1969)|
|First race||1957 race #24 (Columbia)|
|Last race||1976 Mason-Dixon 500 (Dover)|
|NASCAR Grand National East Series career|
|28 races run over 2 years|
|Best finish||1st (1972)|
|First race||1972 Hickory 276 (Hickory)|
|Last race||1973 Buddy Shuman 100 (Hickory)|
|First win||1972 Greenville 200 (Greenville)|
|Last win||1972 Maryville 200 (Maryville)|
|Statistics current as of October 27, 2013.|
He competed in the 1971 Daytona 500 where Richard Petty won the first major race done under the sponsorship of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company who was responsible for producing the then-popular Winston brand of cigarettes. Even though he failed to win a race in his entire career (which ended up spanning nineteen years), Castles has recorded an astonishing 51 finishes in the top five and 178 finishes in the top ten. Out of 90403 laps, Castles has led 90 of them (compared to Jeff Gordon's record of 21000+ laps led so far in his career). His total mileage in his career is 65,412.8 miles (105,271.7 km) more than the entire distance around the world.
There was a short story about Castles from the book American Zoom by Peter Golenbock. 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 did not 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 flag out of his hand."
After the end of his career, Castles has managed to earn $276,854 in total winnings ($1,190,634.10 when adjusted for inflation).