Neil Castles, a former NASCAR racer who later worked as a stuntman, logistics manager, and actor in movies, passed away Thursday at the age of 88. Journalist Deb Williams reported on his passing.
How Did Former NASCAR Driver Neil Castles Die?
Neil Castles, a former NASCAR Cup Series racer who later worked as a stuntman in Hollywood, passed away on August 4. Age-wise, he was 88. Deb Williams from RacinToday broke the news first.
#TBT – 06 Neil Castles – Riverside pic.twitter.com/lajEauFhSR— Randy Murphy (@RMinENC) June 16, 2022
From 1957 until 1976, “Soapy” Castles raced in the NASCAR Cup Series. Despite his 498 starts, he was never a race winner. His best career result was a fourth-place showing. He was successful in achieving 51 top fives, 178 top tens, and top five points finishes in 1969 and 1970.
Neil Castles Biography
Castles, who was still active in NASCAR, transitioned into the film industry as a stunt driver, working primarily on racing-themed films from the 1960s and 1970s. His filmography includes Six Pack with Kenny Rogers, Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor, and Speedway with Elvis Presley (1982).
In addition, Castles received acting credits for The Night of the Cat (1973) and Challenge (1974), as well as numerous credits from the transportation division as a picture car coordinator or driver. His most recent roles were in The Hunger Games and Homeland (2011). (2012).
Neil Castles Career
In addition, Castles won at both Greenville-Pickens Speedway and Smoky Mountain Raceway and finished in the top 10 in 13 of his 14 starts, earning him the 1972 Grand National East Series championship. He came in second place behind Tiny Lund in the championship standings a year later.
Castles was also the focus of a short narrative in Peter Golenbock’s book American Zoom, which perfectly captured Castles’ legacy as a character of his time and an also-ran. In one race, according to Castles, he was running strong and had passed Curtis Turner by a lap, but the flagman, who was aware of Castles’ reputation, didn’t think he was on the lead lap and kept waving the flag to get Castles to move over.
Castles also made a name for himself as a stunt driver
Castles gained fame as a stunt driver in addition to his racing exploits, primarily for racing-related films filmed in the 1960s and 1970s. Speedway with Elvis Presley, Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor, and Six Pack with Kenny Rogers were among the movies Castles worked on (1982). Castles also had a number of acting credits in films like The Night of the Cat (1973) and Challenge (1974), as well as numerous credits in the transportation industry as a picture car coordinator or driver, most recently in Homeland (2011) and The Hunger Games (2012).
Castles stated, “The starter kept doing this and I was getting really angry, so I simply picked up my gun and when I come by the stand the next time, I took aim and shot the… flag out of his hand.”
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Castles has made 498 Cup starts, which ranks third among all drivers without a single victory, behind only Buddy Arrington (653) and J.D. McDuffie (453). (560). Arrington passed away on Tuesday at the age of 84. His career spanned that of Castles.
Castles was also the focus of a short story in Peter Golenbock’s book American Zoom.
There was no immediate word about survivors or a memorial service.
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