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Former NASCAR driver leads officers on wild 2-county chase in Corvette, reaching 140 mph before arrest

May 19, 2010 |  7:06 am
Police pursuits are pretty common in Southern California. But you could call the one that occurred Monday an all-pro affair.

According to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, a man lead authorities on a 50-mile chase from San Clemente to La Jolla. The suspect drove a Corvette, clocking speeds of up to 140 mph.

But when they finally stopped the car, they discovered they were dealing with no ordinary driver.

James Neal turned out to be a former NASCAR driver. Neal pleaded guilty on Tuesday to misdemeanor felony evasion while driving recklessly and has been sentenced to a month in jail and probation.

NASCAR officials told KTLA News that Neal was a NASCAR track racer at the old Ascot Park track in Gardena in the early 1980s. He retired for 21 years before returning to racing in 2008.

The chase finally ended when Neal's engine blew up in the La Jolla area and deputies arrested him without incident, authorities said.

-- Shelby Grad