Drew Hits the Track and the President of the United States Hooks Up with Howie

What is it with “Dancing with the Stars” winners and the need for speed?

Last season’s winner Helio Castroneves was an Indy-race car driver long before he took a turn on the dance floor, but now it appears DWTS champ (from season two) Drew Lachey wants to burn rubber too.

Lachey recently ditched his dancing shoes for four wheels that move faster than pro partner Cheryl Burke’s hips.

The former member boy bander qualified Friday for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, a 10-lap charity race that is part of 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and just yesterday he competed against celebrities including William Fichtner from “Prison Break” and Wilmer Valderrama from “That ’70s Show.”

Lachey told reporters that one of the big draws for him to enter the race was that “you get to drive fast legally.”

I’m sure Lachey’s publicist would have preferred his client mention that his chance to sit behind the wheel of a race-modified Scion tCs on a 1.97-mile, 11-turn circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach, California had more to do with charity than it did with gunning it in front of thousands of cheering fans.

The race benefits the Miller Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Orange County. In addition, the celebrity winner also receives a $20,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

Though Lachey won’t have to worry about doling out his winnings since he was beat by ESPN’s NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little. According to news reports, Lachey came in fourth among the field of 18 stars of film, television and sports in yesterday’s race.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOOKS UP WITH HOWIE

When I first heard that President Bush was planning to make a surprise appearance on the NBC game show, “Deal or No Deal” I honestly thought it was a joke.

I figured the show’s host, comedian Howie Mandel was playing a belated April Fool’s joke and was looking to pump up ratings in time for May sweeps.

Well, I guess the joke’s on me because according to network execs, President Bush’s appearance is the real deal. On Monday night’s episode contestant Capt. Joseph Kobes, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient who has served in Iraq three times attempts to win enough cash to pay off his parents’ mortgage.

According to show producers, Kobes deal making is briefly interrupted so the president of the United States can thank him for his service and wish him luck in the game.

Show producers say Bush’s message was taped at the White House and will appear on the set’s jumbo monitor.

As for whether the president’s message helped Kobes, an Army transportation officer from Washington State, walk away a big winner, well, you’ll just have to tune in tomorrow night to find out.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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