September 7th, 2011
07:05 PM ET
NASCAR's top drivers including champion Jimmie Johnson came to the White House Wednesday. President Obama honored Johnson and seven of the top 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship for their efforts to give back to the community especially the military.
"[W]hat also makes NASCAR special is the difference that it makes in the lives of so many people, especially our troops and their families," the president told the drivers and NASCAR fans gathered in the East Room. The president noting that the drivers and NASCAR staff served dinner to 400 wounded servicemen at Walter Reed Army Hospital last month.
Wednesday's event was all smiles despite the perception of a flap when some of the top drivers declined the coveted White House invite. Today's attendees included Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton. The driver's presented the president with his own helmet and driving gloves.
The president joked he would put them to good use.
"I’m not allowed to drive much these days– basically just my golf cart at Camp David– which is called Golf Cart One."