NASCAR: Nextel Cup champ breaks wrist falling out of golf cart

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 10, 2006

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson broke his left wrist when he fell out of a golf cart during a celebrity tournament, his team said Sunday.

The injury occurred Friday at a tournament in Lecanto, Fla., and will prevent him from driving for at least four weeks. The injury was to his non-shifting hand, and he should be able to participate in preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway next month.

“I was in a golf cart and the driver took a sharp turn,” Johnson said in a statement. “I wasn’t holding on tight enough, landed awkwardly on the ground and heard a little pop. It was a fluke deal, but fortunately we’re in the offseason and I don’t plan to miss any additional time.”

Johnson will not be able to compete in the Race of Champions Nations Cup at the Stade de France in Paris next weekend. Johnson, who teamed with Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards to win the Nations Cup in 2002, said he will still travel to Paris as a consultant for Team USA.

He was scheduled to team with X-Games champion Travis Pastrana in Paris. A replacement for Johnson was not immediately announced.

“It’s disappointing that I can’t compete … but I’ll definitely be in Paris to cheer them on and provide any support that I can,” he said.

Johnson wrapped up his first NASCAR championship last month and celebrated it Dec. 1 at the annual awards ceremony in New York City. It capped a whirlwind year for Johnson, who won the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway en route to the title.

This is the second consecutive year that NASCAR’s reigning champion was injured during the offseason.

Tony Stewart broke his wrist and bruised his ribs last January when he flipped a car during a qualifying race for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. Stewart’s arm was placed in a cast, but he was able to compete a month later when the season opened at Daytona.