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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 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following in second place is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, lead the field prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, at the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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