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Former NASCAR driver arrested in Orange County on suspicion of attempted rape

May 31, 2010 |  6:10 pm

Former NASCAR driver James Neal was arrested on attempted rape charges Monday within hours of his release from the Orange County Jail after serving a brief sentence on a misdemeanor driving count, authorities said.

Neal, 56, of San Clemente, was back in jail after he was booked on suspicion of attempted rape and false imprisonment, said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Jansen.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the apartment of a Lake Forest woman early Monday after receiving reports of a fight. The woman, who knows Neal, said he had attempted to rape her and would not leave, according to authorities.

Last month, Neal was arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase down the 5 Freeway. Deputies, who had attempted to pull Neal over for not having a front license plate, stopped the pursuit for safety reasons.

But they later arrested him when they found him standing at the side of the freeway next to his sports car with a blown-out engine.

-- Bettina Boxall