Mr. Busch goes to Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch, (3rdL), while flanked by members of his racing team, during an event in the East Room at the White House, September 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the event to honor Kyle Busch, and the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 car for their 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. (Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch, (3rdL), while flanked by members of his racing team, during an event in the East Room at the White House, September 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the event to honor Kyle Busch, and the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 car for their 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. (Getty Images)

Kyle Busch enjoyed the fruits of his 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship Wednesday.  Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing team paid a visit to the White House capping the tour off with a visit with President Barack Obama. The President of the United States typically hosts sports champions at the White House, including NASCAR champions.

Kyle, wife Samantha, members of his championship team and JGR executives.  The highlight of the tour was remarks by the President in the East Room of the White House with Kyle and his teammates behind him.  The remarks were lighthearted, but the President also pointed out the charitable work of the Busch’s as well as NASCAR.

“Many people expected a Bush would be back in the White House this year,” Obama said, referencing former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. “But no one thought it would be Kyle, especially after he broke his leg at the start of the season at Daytona.”

Busch captured his first Sprint Cup championship with five wins last season, including one in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the NASCAR Championship Race. His title came after the 31-year old missed the first 11 races of the season due to injuries sustained that February in the Xfinity Series opener at Daytona.

“But he hunkered down, displaying the same determination in rehab that he’s known for on the track,” The President added. “He’ll be the first to say he could not have done it alone.  Obviously, from Samantha’s support, to everyone on the Number 18 Team who held things down while he got better, the people in Kyle’s life kept him driving forward.

“It helps, by the way, being young.  I just want to point out.  You heal a little faster.  When you’re 55, things don’t happen that quick.

So he ended up being able to return a week early — just a few days before their beautiful, young son, Brexton, was born.  But he still only had a fraction of the season to qualify for The Chase — and that’s something to do in the full season.

Luckily, as most folks will attest, Kyle does not lack confidence, apparently.  So while he has said that rehabbing was one of the hardest things he’s ever done, winning on the racetrack wasn’t.  And together, he and the Number 18 Team won five times on their way to the Cup — including at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Kyle took the lead with just seven laps to go and brought home the championship. “

The President also mentioned the charitable work by Kyle and Samantha.

“It was another great season — Kyle’s first career Sprint Cup title,” he said.  “But for Kyle, it’s not just about what he does on the track — it’s what he does off the track.  Kyle and Samantha are working hard to make a difference for folks all across the country, from donating wedding gowns to military brides, to helping couples afford fertility treatment, to covering expenses for women who are battling breast cancer.

The President also talked about the charitable works by all of NASCAR, as well as the passing of Betty Jane France on August 30.

“That goes with the kind of service that we’re seeing from the entire NASCAR family,” the President said.  “Just a few weeks ago, NASCAR lost its matriarch, Betty Jane France.  And she was the guiding light of the sport’s community efforts, including creating the Speediatrics program, which has given more than half a million kids the opportunity to access state-of-the-art medical equipment.

“In all, over the past decade, NASCAR has given $25 million dollars to charitable causes that have helped more than a million kids.  And last year, through a tremendous partnership with the VA, they helped more than 5,300 veterans, servicemembers, and their families access the benefits that they have earned.

So altogether, it’s a legacy of service that honors Betty Jane and stays true to the belief that in serving each other we make the country better, and we help every member of the American family.  And I know that Kyle, Samantha, and others want to continue that legacy. “

The President said he would like take the No. 18 Toyota Camry the team brought along, but said the Secret Service would probably not allow it.

“In a few months, I can actually do anything I want,” the outgoing President said.  “So Kyle, we’re going to talk.”

“You got it,” Busch replied.

He did say that First Lady Michelle Obama would probably frown upon it mentioning that she would probably not want him to drive with a car with a whole bunch of M&M’s on it. “She may want carrots or something,” the President joked.

Kyle gave the President a replica race helmet, and the President asked Kyle what really pumped through the air hose.

“Some really good stuff,” Busch replied electing a laugh from the President and those in attendance.

 

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