NASCAR: Arrest warrant issued for ex-driver Tyler Walker

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The Tyler Walker saga has continued with a circuit judge issuing an arrest warrant for the 35-year-old ex-NASCAR driver, who failed to show up at a court hearing this afternoon.

According to The Spectrum of St. George, Utah, Walker was to mail a plea agreement to the 5th District Court. It was the 12th attempt to resolve Walker’s drug and police evasion charges stemming from a high-speed police chase in 2013 that stretched across Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

Instead, the Spectrum reports that Walker’s defense attorney, Trevor Terry, informed the court that Walker had mailed in the wrong plea agreement from California and that he expected his client to return the correct plea agreement that afternoon.

That didn’t sit well with Judge Eric Ludlow, who declared that he would no longer accept the plea agreement by mail. He then showed his frustration with the repeated delays, saying that his patience was “well beyond thin.”

A warrant was issued for $25,000 payable only in cash, and Ludlow also ordered that the bail Walker posted last year be forfeited. Terry objected, but the judge would have none of it.

“I don’t think you understand,” Ludlow said. “He’ll be here, OK?…He’ll make the trip…I’m not messing around with Mr. Walker any more.”

Terry, who said that Walker has completed “intensive outpatient [drug] treatment” in California, feels that he was receiving the blame for the delays.

“While I respect the court’s decision, I think the direction of the court’s frustration is misguided,” he added.

No new hearing date has been scheduled.

Earlier this fall, prosecutors had asked to delay the completion of the agreement after reports surfaced that Walker was facing new criminal charges in California.

However, after difficulty attaining a report from California law enforcement on his criminal history there, it was decided that the agreement would go through without a report.

Walker allegedly drove up to 150 miles per hour in his car during the police chase in 2013. He was charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors including but not limited to possession of amphetamines, marijuana and narcotic equipment, and driving under the influence.

His passenger, Raelle McDonald, has already pleaded guilty for related drug charges and was put on probation.

Walker was suspended by NASCAR in 2007 for violation of its substance abuse policy. He went on to continue his career in the World of Outlaws sprint car series.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”