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Drivers meet Obama at the White House

"I called [3M] and talked to them about the [White House] invitation, and this was very important to them," Biffle said. "The function is designed around me and they really can't have it if I can't go. Unfortunately, the date conflicts with the invitation."

Biffle said he had been "disgusted" by reports that he had rejected the invitation and said such reporting was "disrespectful", pointing out that in his home office he has a picture in pride of place of himself meeting President Obama on a previous occasion and shaking his hand.

Kurt Busch did attend, despite initial reports saying he had declined because of the need to attend NASCAR's official 2012 photoshoot which he has to complete before the end of September. "We'll be there," he had confirmed. "I mean, who would turn down the opportunity to go to the White House? To me, it's an honor and it's a privilege."

Given all the furore about the four drivers not making the event, it was somewhat ironic that NASCAR CEO Brian France also failed to make White House visit - after weather in the area stopped him from flying into Washington DC in time.




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U.S. President Barack Obama (right) is presented with a pair of gloves by NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson (left) during an East Room event Sept. 7 at the White House in Washington, D.C. Obama hosted the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion to honour his win. Johnson is the only driver in the NASCAR history to win in five consecutive years. [Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]
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