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Obama honours NASCAR drivers at the White House

President Obama had to find a parking space for Tony Stewart's #14 Sprint Cup car on the White House driveway as he honoured NASCAR's leading drivers on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama played host to last year's top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers on Tuesday with an event at the White House honouring the new series champion, Tony Stewart.

Stewart was joined on the White House lawn by Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch. The president of NASCAR, Brian French, also attended.

"This was Tony's year," said Obama in his prepared speech. "Smoke gave us one of the most dramatic finishes we have ever seen. After barely making the Chase, Tony took off, winning an amazing four races in the post-season. Then came the final race in Miami, a must-win. Tony went all out.

"Tony himself acknowledged he didn't see it coming; nobody saw it coming," continued the President. "Tony predicted he wouldn't be able to pull it off.
In fact, he said if he did end up winning the championship - and this is a quote - 'I'll declare I'm a total bumbling idiot.' Here's your chance, Tony!"

Obama also picked out the driver who lost out to Stewart for the championship despite tying in points in that final race.

"I want to make special mention out of this group of Carl Edwards. He's also a member of my Fitness Council. Carl battled Tony down to the wire and came about as close as you can get without actually winning," he said. "I think everybody who saw Carl after the race, it was a great lesson in how you handle disappointment with grace and with class. He's an outstanding representative for NASCAR."

President Obama clearly has a taste for NASCAR, with this being the second time in a little over seven months that he's had NASCAR drivers over for an event. Last September it had been to honour the previous year's champion Jimmie Johnson, and Obama wasn't passing him over for appreciation this year either.

"I do want to acknowledge Jimmie, because even though his five-year streak is over, I think we can all acknowledge he is one of the all-time greats, and I know he is itching to take the title back," said Obama. "A few years ago, Jimmie Johnson showed up, showed me how to start one of these things up, showed me how everything worked. It was impressive!"

It was clear that the chief executive was itching to get into the #14 parked on the White House driveway and make use of some of Johnson's tips. "Every year, I try to take a lap. Nobody lets me do it," he joked. "But I am still holding out hope that at some point, I'm going to be able to get behind the wheel."




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President Barack Obama speaks to the crowd during a visit by the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to the White House on April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart to honour his championship season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
President Barack Obama stands with NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart during an event on the South Lawn, April 17, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart to honor his championship season. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama arrives, passing NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Jimmy Johnson, during an event on the South Lawn, April 17, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart to honor his championship season. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (L), driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, talks to Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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