For this year's White House visit with President Obama, it appears NASCAR's Chase drivers are all in.
Just seven months after four drivers in the Sprint Cup Series playoff skipped a visit with Obama due to schedule conflicts, NASCAR announced Obama will welcome Tony Stewart and all 11 of his 2011 Chase rivals in a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday.
According to a NASCAR press release on Wednesday afternoon, all of last year's Chase drivers will attend the April 17 event. That includes Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards, who turned down the chance to visit the White House last year.
Last year, the drivers who didn't attend the event cited various reasons. Edwards said it was the "busiest time of my life," Stewart said he had an obligation to fulfill and Harvick later said his decision had to do with the process of shuttering Kevin Harvick Inc.
Greg Biffle also did not make last year's White House trip due to a sponsor obligation in Minnesota the same day.
The other drivers who will attend the 2012 version of the ceremony include Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch. NASCAR CEO Brian France will also be present.
Johnson, Hamlin, Gordon, Kenseth and both Busch brothers attended last year's White House visit, which was held Sept. 7 in the East Room.
Athletes skipping the White House visit has become a hot-button issue due to the volatile political climate that currently exists in the United States. In January, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas passed on meeting Obama with his teammates due to his political beliefs.