SOUTH PARIS — A South Paris man has been charged with arson in connection with a 2007 fire that destroyed thousands of automobile racing collectibles that belonged to Bobby Walker, the former announcer and publicist at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, said today that 34-year-old Robert G. Conrad has been charged with arson in connection with the March 13, 2007, fire that destroyed Walker’s Country Club Road home.

At the time, Walker was recovering from a stroke at a local rehabilitation center. “The hard part right now is just, why me?” Walker told a Portland Press Herald reporter in 2007.

Walker’s home was never rebuilt. Walker, who had suffered five strokes prior to the fire, was the announcer at Oxford Plains Speedway for more than three decades. Strokes sidelined him in 2005.

Conrad, who works as a maintenance man, was arrested Friday night at his parents’ home in Oxford. He is being held at the Oxford County Jail, pending his first court appearance on Monday.

McCausland said investigators got new information on Friday while police were investigating another arson fire on an outside deck of a home on Jenny Lane in Oxford. That fire is still under investigation. No one has been charged.

Walker told the Press Herald in 2007 that his NASCAR trading card collection filled 78 ringed binders. Along with his die-cast replicas of legendary stock cars and autographed cards from the likes of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Davey Allison, the collection was worth thousands of dollars.



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