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NASCAR champ, Lachey tee up charity golf

The last time Jimmie Johnson climbed on top of a golf cart was disastrous _ he fell off, broke his wrist and was embarrassed by the controversy the stunt caused.
Image: Jimmie Johnson celebrates winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship
Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning his second straight Nextel Cup championship.Robert Lesieur / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

The last time Jimmie Johnson climbed on top of a golf cart was disastrous — he fell off and broke his wrist.

But for charity, the NASCAR champion might be persuaded to climb on top of one again.

Johnson and good friend Nick Lachey said Thursday that they had partnered to form the Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic, which will be held in Scottsdale, Ariz., in conjunction with the Super Bowl.

Johnson, who was horsing around on top of a cart when he fell last December during Mike Hampton's celebrity tournament, didn't rule out climbing aboard another cart this year.

"I might be talked into such a thing, if I can get some bindings to hold me on and make sure I won't fall off," he joked. "It is for charity, after all."

"We're going to play chicken on top of the golf carts," Lachey quickly chimed in.

Purse now stands at $400,000
Johnson, the two-time defending Sprint Cup champion, had been trying for some time to organize an event with pop singer Lachey. The two have been friends for years, and Lachey is a frequent guest at NASCAR races.

They usually attend the Super Bowl together, and decided it was a perfect venue for their first charitable event.

The event will open with an exclusive party at Scottsdale nightclub Axis Radius, and the tournament will follow on Feb. 2. Lachey and Johnson have each pledged $125,000 to the purse, which has already reached $400,000 through outside sponsorship.

The two hope to fatten the purse through an Ebay auction that allows fans to bid on a chance to play the event with either Johnson or Lachey.

Each hole will be worth $20,000, and the winning team will designate the earnings to the charity of their choice.

"If we can actually win a skin, we can donate the money to our personal foundations, but I am not counting on that happening," Lachey said.

"We've been very happy with the response, and we think people are going to have a good time and want to come back again."

The two have a three-year commitment for the tournament from Prime Cuts Production, and plan to hold it in conjunction with the next three Super Bowls. They said they have participation commitments from celebrities from their respective arenas, but declined to reveal the players.

Lachey finishes up NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" this week, and Johnson just returned from the Race of Champions in London.