President Barack Obama will honor NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and the 11 other Chase drivers from last year in a White House ceremony on Wednesday – but nearly half of the 2010 playoff contenders won't be there.Jeff Gluck at SB Nation seems a bit perturbed:
NASCAR said Thursday that five drivers – Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart – will not be attending the White House visit due to "schedule conflicts."
They must be very busy people. Regardless of one's political views, the president is still the president – and an opportunity to speak with the leader of the free world is a rare and special one.Several of the five drivers are trying to get into the Chase again this year and that will be decided in the next couple of races. Their teams are probably testing and preparing for either the Chase races or the next two events that will decide who gets in.
You'd think whatever photo shoots or sponsor appearances these drivers have lined up on Wednesday afternoon – if that's indeed the reason – could be rescheduled. After all, this is the President of the United States we're talking about here.
For a sport that prides itself on patriotism, having so many drivers turn down the president's invitation simply seems strange.
And, there's always a possibility that they just don't want to go. Many of these drivers have made White House visits in the past few years, either as champions in the case of Busch or Stewart, or as Chase contenders. It could be the novelty has worn off.
Just because the president beckons doesn't mean you have to go. I think John Boehner proved that earlier this week.