NASCAR drivers may or may not be athletes, but they sure can wheel. Usually it's in the service of good, but every once in awhile, someone uses their driving skills for evil. Or at least stupidity.
Meet James Edward Neal. You probably don't remember him. He raced for a while in regional series in the '80s, though as you'll see, he still knows how to find the gas pedal. Mr. Neal was pulled over in San Clemente, Calif., about 3 a.m. Monday and did the traffic-stop equivalent of a short pit, nearly slowing to a stop and then, stupidly, deciding to run.
Rocketing his 2003 Corvette down Interstate 5, Neal, 56, hit speeds of up to 140 mph. He drew the attention of the California Highway Patrol (CHiPs!), which discussed throwing down a spike strip after observing him veering from lane to lane and occasionally turning off his lights to avoid detection.
Finally, however, deputies wisely decided to let him go. (Clearly, they weren't on fresh tires.) Neal then shot all the way to La Jolla inside of a half hour, a distance of about 50 miles. But, as is so often the case, Neal's equipment failed him (his engine blew), and he was nabbed. He was booked into Orange County Jail with bail set at $25,000. He gets the bonus points for most laps led, but unfortunately this one goes down as a DNF — or maybe, DNAC (Did Not Avoid The Heat).
The irony? (Well, aside from the irony inherent in a NASCAR driver getting pulled over for speeding.) The cops were only pulling Neal over in the first place because he didn't have a front plate. Chances are he wouldn't have even gotten a ticket for that. Whoops.
Below, a local news video, including some deputies' footage. Alas, no Digger Cam view.