President Barack Obama honored NASCAR champion Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team during a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday.
Busch overcame serious injuries to win the 2015 Sprint Cup championship. He broke his right leg and left foot in a jarring crash during a February race at Daytona International Speedway, the day before the season-opening Daytona 500. After missing 11 races recuperating, Busch returned sooner than expected and went on to win five races and a career-first championship.
"He hunkered down, displaying the same determination in rehab that he's known for on the track," Obama said. "While he has said that rehabbing was one of the hardest things he's ever done, winning on the racetrack wasn't."
In addition to remarking that he wanted to take Busch's No. 18 car for a drive, Obama also pointed out how Busch has a similar surname to someone who many thought would win the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
"I think there were some people who thought we were going to see a Bush back here in the White House this year, but they didn't know it was going to be Kyle," Obama joked.
As winning teams customarily do, Busch and the No. 18 team presented Obama with a memento commemorating their championship. In lieu of the traditional jersey that teams from stick-and-ball sports offer the president, Busch gave Obama one of the helmets he wore during the 2015 season.
"This here is a helmet, one of the few that I have during the season and I raced with in order to bring to you and give a gift on behalf of all of us at Joe Gibbs Racing," Busch said. "So that's a real one there."