President Barack Obama is set to honor 12 top NASCAR drivers at the White House next week -- but five of them have reportedly turned down the invitations.
SB Nation reports:
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.
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."
The president traditionally extends White House invites to champion athletes and sports teams, honors that are very rarely turned down, let alone by nearly half of the invitees.
This latest news may further bolster a study that found Republicans are more likely to watch NASCAR than Democrats are.
But AP is giving a few more details on at least one driver's excuse:
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle say they can't attend next week's visit to the White House because of scheduling conflicts. Both insist they mean no disrespect toward President Obama.
Both drivers have been to the White House before and met the president. In fact, Biffle says he has a picture shaking hands with Obama on display in his office.
Biffle says he couldn't get out of a two-day appearance for main sponsor 3M in Minnesota next week. Stewart won't reveal where he will be but says he would have accepted the invitation if possible.
The president invited NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and 11 other drivers who made the Chase last year. Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards also say they can't attend.
The snub also comes at the end of a tough week for White House invitations, with House Speaker John Boehner publicly denying Obama's request to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday and telling him to reschedule for the following day.
(h/t Gateway Pundit)