President Donald Trump recognized Joey Logano, team owner Roger Penske, crew chief Todd Gordon and the rest of Team Penske’s No. 22 team for its 2018 NASCAR Cup title Tuesday at the White House.
Their championship was the focus of a 14-minute ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House,
“I just want to congratulate you, Todd Gordon, the whole crew,” President Trump said. “I hear it’s just incredible what you’ve done. You’ve set records of your own. Truly talented people, I appreciate it. I watch it all the time and I marvel at how you can do that. … It’s precise. It’s a great thing the people of this country to watch and plenty of them do. I want to congratulate you, great team.”
Of NASCAR, the president said the sport “is not only a thrilling display of skill and power but a celebration of the American spirit. No matter who wins the race, you never forget what matters most: God, family and country. And nobody embodies that more than you folks. With champions like you, I am confident NASCAR will continue to excite and inspire millions of devoted fans across our nation.”
President Trump referred to Penske as being “A friend of mine for a long time” and acknowledged Penske’s success in business and his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this year.
“I’ve watched you from business to racing to ownership of cars and I just watch you have victory after victory,” President Trump said. “No matter what you do, it turns to gold. So keep doing it for a long time to come. It’s an amazing achievement what you’ve done.”
Team Penske President Tim Cindric, Vice Chairman Walt Czarnecki and NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton were also in attendance for the ceremony, with President Trump noting each of them.
“Thank you Mike, I’ve been with you a long time,” President Trump said. “I sort of consider you a friend. I watch you on television and you’re as famous as NASCAR in its own way, right?”
Penske and Logano were each invited to make remarks.
“Certainly an honor for me to be here today and to have you invite our team to be part of this great celebration of the 2018 championship,” Penske said. “To me the opportunity for us to be in the nation’s capitol today was amazing for our team, the chance to visit the White House is something you dream about. We can tell our grandkids forever (about) this great opportunity.
“But I would be remiss, me personally and the team want to thank you for the support of our men and women in the military and the first responders who keep this country safe and secure. Without that, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Penske then introduced Logano for remarks.
“I kind of got to pinch myself to think what I’m doing here right now,” Logano said. “What an amazing day we’ve had, an amazing run we had last year to be able to win the championship and like Roger and Mr. President said, it takes an amazing team to make that happen. Today we had quite the experience to see your team, the team that makes our amazing country be what it is and this a great reminder for myself and I’m sure I’m speaking for my whole team of what goes into our great country and our freedom and everyone that’s fought for that.”
In an aside, Logano said he “still can’t get over my car sitting here in front of the White House.”
Logano concluded by sharing what he thought it meant to be a champion.
“To be a champion you don’t have to drive a race car, you don’t have to have a ring or trophy,” he said. “Sometimes being a champion you can be doing the smallest things. It’s just doing the right thing at the right moment and helping those that need it the most. I want to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity to drive a race car and live my dream in an amazing country.”
Logano ended the ceremony by presenting President Trump with a helmet he wore during the 2018 season and a replica of his championship trophy.