President Obama recognized 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and other drivers on Tuesday, highlighting both their racing accomplishments and the organization's outreach to veterans and families of service members.
Obama also worked in a joke about Stewart's famous hostility to the media.
"I invited Tony here today because of what he did on the track, but I was also hoping he’d give me some tips on the media,” Obama joked, suggesting he could learn a thing or two from Stewart's "quiet, reserved personality." NASCAR fans and sports reporters know that Stewart is anything but reserved.
The president praised NASCAR's commitment to supporting veterans. "You look out for military families, you look out for Gold Star families, you make regular visits to Walter Reed" Army Medical Center, Obama said of NASCAR and its drivers. He called the racing organization's commitment to supporting veterans "remarkable."
Obama has recognized NASCAR champions, drivers, and the organization's outreach to the community at past White House events.
Stewart's race car, No. 14, was parked in the driveway of the South Lawn. "Every year I try to take a lap," Obama complained, "nobody lets me do it."