Neil “Soapy” Castles

Memoir of a Life in NASCAR and the Movies


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About the Book

Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became involved in its pioneering auto racing scene at an early age. Graduating from soapbox derby cars to midgets and sprints and finally to stock cars, he sometimes crashed, sometimes won, saw friends die horribly, and became a champion.
Eventually he left the racetrack for Hollywood where he became a stuntman working alongside such stars as Rory Calhoun, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Richard Pryor and Andy Griffith. In the 1990s, groundwater contamination at Castle’s truck repair business from an Exxon oil storage facility cost him an eye and most of his lungs. His decade-long class action lawsuit won him millions in compensation.

About the Author(s)

The late Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles lived in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Perry Allen Wood is an investigator for Wells Fargo Bank and a noted racing historian. He has written four other McFarland books on stock car racing, hosts a weekly radio show Start Your Engines, and lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles with Perry Allen Wood

Foreword by Deb Williams

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: 72 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7628-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3504-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments by Perry Allen Wood viii
Foreword by Deb Williams 1
Preface by Perry Allen Wood 3

One. A Beginning 7
Two. Behind the Wheel and on the Gas 16
Three. After Buddy 37
Four. Racing into the ’60s 60
Five. Elvis Is in the Building 79
Six. Inspections, Rescues, Wings and Protests 98
Seven. That Championship Feeling 113
Eight. Lights, Camera and Lots of Action 136
Nine. Taking on the Giant 160
Ten. Heading for the Checkered Flag 172
Eleven. Neil’s Children Reflect 183

Index 189

Book Reviews & Awards

“Relates [the] story competently and reads easily…worthy addition to the race historian’s library”—SAH Journal