Charles Beck, 66, had raced at Bowman Gray Stadium since the late 1950s but won a feature there only once. The oldest driver at Bowman Gray Stadium's track died Saturday night after his car hit a guard rail in the last lap of a NASCAR modified race on the quarter-mile asphalt oval.

Charles C. ``Bubba' Beck, 66, of Churchland in western Davidson County, was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and pronounced dead at 10:39 p.m. Saturday.Track officials and other drivers said it appeared that Beck slumped over the steering wheel as he came out of the south turn. The car went down the backstretch on the infield grass and then across the track into the north turn's guard rail.

No other car was involved.

NASCAR chief steward Gray Garrison said the likelihood of a hung throttle, sometimes the cause of accidents such as this one, seemed not to apply in this wreck. The car was examined and no trouble was found in its carburetor or throttle mechanism, Garrison said.

Emergency medical technicians told track personnel that Beck was clutching his chest and gasping for breath when they reached his car. A pathologist's examination today would determine whether there would be an autopsy.

Beck, who raced at Bowman Gray in five decades, owned and operated Bubba's Garage, an auto repair and parts business in Churchland.

He began racing stock cars on now-defunct dirt tracks in 1956 and had driven at Bowman Gray since the late 1950s. His enthusiasm for the sport did not translate into much success: His only victory in the track's featured modified division was on July 31, 1976.

Beck is survived by his wife of 36 years, Kay; a son, David, who was his crew chief; and daughters Susan Conway of Charlottesville, Va., and Sheri Manno of Lexington.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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