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Jimmie Johnson going to the White House Monday, helmet in hand, to meet President Obama

   Jimmie Johnson, here with former President George Bush, is no stranger to the White House. But Monday's invite to meet with new President Barack Obama -- is that a move by the Obama administration to reach out to the NASCAR audience? Is an invite to Obama to a NASCAR race next on the agenda? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   POCONO, Pa.
   Talk about a good photo op:
   Jimmie Johnson will be honored at the White House Monday afternoon for his 2008 NASCAR championship by President Barack Obama, and he'll have his Chevrolet on the White House lawn.
   Johnson and other NASCAR champions are getting the invites from the new president, in what appears to be a hurried move by the Obama Administration to reach out to the NASCAR demographic.
   Obama will sandwich the Johnson-NASCAR meet-and-greet into a schedule that includes a luncheon with the Emir of Kuwait.
   Johnson has been to the White House before, as guest of President George Bush, for titles in 2007 and 2006.
   But during the transition from the Republican Bush administration and the Democratic Obama administration, Johnson's 2008 title run was apparently overlooked.
   Now, eight months later, Johnson gets his White House opening.
   It is unclear if the White House invite has any political overtones. Obama is currently pushing hard for a new health care bill, and just a few days ago he was in Raleigh, N.C., promoting that effort.
   NASCAR's high-rollers are generally considered in the Republican fold, and there has been some criticism of NASCAR executives for not moving to get in tighter with the new administration. For example, vice president Joe Biden, from Delaware, was not at the late spring NASCAR race at Dover. And Obama was not at any of last fall's NASCAR races, though rival John McCain, a staunch NASCAR supporter, was.
   It is also unclear if the Monday White House session is a move by the Obama administration to reach out to the NASCAR demographic. However the symbolism will certainly be seen on the 6 p.m. news.

Did this get rescheduled,

Did this get rescheduled, Mike?

yes, i believe; right after

yes, i believe; right after the michigan race, monday or tuesday august 17-18 or so

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