Jimmie Johnson finally going to White House

Saturday, Aug. 01, 2009

LONG POND, Pa. - Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is finally going to get his White House visit for winning the 2009 title but he’s going to have company.

The White House press secretary’s office announced late Friday that President Barack Obama will host a gathering Monday afternoon on the South Portico of the White House with Johnson, all the members of last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup field as well as some former series champions, including Dale Jarrett and Darrell Waltrip.

Also on hand for the 4:30 p.m. meeting will be one of Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets.

“It’s a big honor for our sport to go to the White House. With the way things have changed in the automotive industry, I think it will be good to go up and be face-to-face with the president and let him see the personalities and understand that we’re real people and a real sport,” said Johnson.

“Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to express the importance of racing, not that we’re going up there to politic for anything. Obviously with the president being who he is and all the boundaries that were knocked down through this election, it’s a good day for NASCAR and us as individuals to go up and experience this.”

Typically, the Cup series champion gets a visit to the White House but Johnson’s visit had been delayed by Obama’s transition after winning election last November.