Polluting my happy place: Politics and NASCAR

President Barack Obama and Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson look under
the hood of Johnson's No. 48 car in front of the White House in August 2009.
Credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
NASCAR. It’s my escape from the world around me. For a few hours each weekend I get the chance to live in a bubble created by burning rubber and gasoline and simply forget about what’s going on outside that bubble.

So, please may I ask, why do you have to bring politics into my happy place? Why do you force me to look at drivers and wonder who they voted for in the last election? I don’t give a damn who they voted for or where there political allegiances lie. I didn’t become a fan based on their ballot and I don’t intend to judge their performance on the track based on it, either.

In the last 24 hours, the NASCAR community has been up in arms about drivers declining an invite to the White House. Some have said that those who declined for what’s been called “scheduling conflicts” are doing so because they don’t agree with President Barack Obama’s agenda or party. Are you kidding me? Seriously? This has to be a joke … right? Sadly it’s not. I’ve read dozens of stories, tweets and Facebook status updates from people who are crucifying drivers for choosing to attend or not. Some have said they are choosing not to follow a driver because they can attend. Other say that they will start cheering for someone because they aren’t going. Seriously? Where is your loyalty to your driver? Did you start following him because of who he voted for? Are we really so petty that we can’t put politics aside for a moment and just let it go?

Does it matter that the drivers who are not attending this year have gone in the past, under the same President? Do you think that maybe, just maybe, the guys paying a driver’s paycheck might not be willing to let them out of an obligation that’s been on the schedule for months because the President decided A YEAR later to honor them? Did it ever cross your mind that maybe Harvick, Stewart, Biffle and Edwards are just doing the jobs they are paid to do? Did you forget that Edwards is on the President’s Council for Physical Fitness?

Being invited to the White House is an honor, there is no doubt about it, but it’s not one that you have to accept. The only person who should be obligated to attend is the champion and for that reason, Johnson is headed to Washington on Wednesday. In what other sport do you invite the runners-up to the White House? Why not just invite Johnson and the crew? Because then someone would complain about that, too.

My point is that this shouldn’t be a political issue. There are so many other things that we could argue about when it comes to politics, so why do we have to make this more than what it is?

Now here’s my question. Wonder how Kurt Busch (who is now attending the event at the White House) and Jeff Burton feel about being invited to the White House when NASCAR couldn’t even see see fit to invite them to Vegas last November?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
Polluting my happy place: Politics and NASCAR Polluting my happy place: Politics and NASCAR Reviewed by Katy Lindamood on Saturday, September 03, 2011 Rating: 5