James Neal's booking photo
James Neal's booking photo

James Neal, Ex-NASCAR Racer Moves Farther Into Loser's Circle With Attempted Rape Charge

Two hours after former NASCAR driver James Neal was released from Orange County Jail to complete his sentence for having led officers on a high-speed, 50-mile chase two weeks ago, he arrived at the home of a woman he met once and allegedly tried to rape her.

The 56-year-old San Clemente resident was picked up by Orange County sheriff's deputies less than five hours after having been let out of jail.

He went back in with charges of false imprisonment, attempted rape and burglary hanging around his neck.

The Orange County Register has the scoop.

After clocking speeds of 140 mph in the May 17 police chase that ended in the La Jolla area after the engine in the 2003 Corvette he was driving blew up, Neal pleaded guilty the following day to misdemeanor evasion while driving recklessly. He was sentenced to a month in jail and three years probation.

Having qualified for early release, Neal was let out of jail at 1:30 a.m. on Monday.

He arrived at the 55-year-old woman's Lake Forest apartment at 3 a.m.

A neighbor called deputies about a disturbance between a man and a woman there about 6 a.m. He was refusing to leave after trying to rape her, deputies were told.

Neal was briefly hospitalized with chest pains, but he was later taken to jail and held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Neal reportedly won three NASCAR races in the early 1980s, retired for 21 years and then returned to racing in 2008.

He raced in the Winston West and Southwest Tour races, neither of which uses the southbound 5 freeway in Orange and San Diego counties as a course.


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