Being a NASCAR driver is a lot like being president: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at some point during the season,” President Obama said today.
The president welcomed eight of the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers to the White House today to honor Jimmie Johnson’s series championship and to pay tribute to their work on and off the track.
“Jimmie has got a lot to be proud of. And that’s especially true when you think of what it means to win five championships in a row,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House. “With so much extraordinary talent that is going bumper to bumper in every race, just making the Chase is hard enough, let alone winning the whole thing.”
Despite the similarities between their positions, the president seemed a little jealous of the drivers. “It’s great to have No. 48 parked outside,” Obama said of the Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet racing car. “I was just telling these guys I’m not allowed to drive much these days, basically just my golf cart at Camp David, which is called Golf Cart One. True,” he said to laughter from the crowd.
”But I will say that it’s pretty tough to look at No. 48 and not want to jump in and take a few laps, although I’m sure Jimmie would not be happy if I was doing that,” he said.
The president also highlighted the work that NASCAR does to support military families. “What also makes NASCAR special is the difference that it makes in the lives of so many people, especially our troops and their families,” Obama said.
The drivers and staff toured Walter Reed Hospital last month, serving dinner to 400 wounded service members and their loved ones. NASCAR will honor military and first responders in Richmond, Va., this weekend before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Four of the drivers made the unusual decision to decline the invitation to the White House today, but have denied snubbing the president. While the move led to speculation that they were making a political statement about Obama’s policies, the drivers cited scheduling conflicts and said it had nothing to do with politics.