Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick Explain Why They're Skipping NASCAR White House Visit

Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick expressed regret for not being able to attend NASCAR's visit to the White House and President Obama next week, saying they had other obligations.

Each of the drivers had previously been on trips to the White House.

"We do have an obligation that we have to fulfill," Stewart said. "I've enjoyed every trip and I've been very honored to be invited. I'm very sorry that I'm going to miss the chance to go again.

"There's a lot of people in this nation that would love to have that opportunity and spend time with the president and just have a couple minutes of his time. It's a tough schedule that we have."

Harvick said it there was "a lot going on" in the week leading up to the Chase cutoff race and said it was too difficult to reschedule previous plans. He added it "wasn't anybody's business" what commitment was keeping him from the White House.

"I understand the honor and things," he said. "Just with everything we have going right now, there's no way possible to reschedule the things we had going next week.

Biffle said he was "disgusted" by people saying he "rejected" the invitation, calling that kind of talk "disrespectful." The Roush Fenway Racing driver said he has a picture of himself shaking hands with Obama in the Oval Office and proudly displays it at home.

But the driver said he has to attend a function for sponsor 3M in Minnesota, and it cannot be moved. Biffle said he got the White House invitation two weeks ago but that the 3M event had been planned for months.

"I called (3M) and talked to them about the invitation, and this was very important to them," Biffle said. "The function is designed around me and they really can't have it if I can't go. Unfortunately, the date conflicts with the invitation."

Biffle said if it were a simple appearance or autograph session, he would have rescheduled. But this was an event built around him, with people traveling from other countries to meet him.

"I'm very flattered for the invitation and I would love to go," he said. "I (would) take advantage of that. I've been to Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) for seven years in a row; things like this are important to me. I simply have an obligation."

Stewart also said if he could have rescheduled, he would have.

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