3:56 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Very talented people. Great musicians. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
And good afternoon. Today it’s my pleasure to welcome the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Joey Logano, and Team Penske to the White House. Joey, congratulations. Fantastic. (Applause.)
Team Penske raced across the finish line in the Ford Fusion. You liked the car?
MR. LOGANO: I loved it.
THE PRESIDENT: You better say that. (Laughter.) You better say that.
Parked right here on the White House South Drive. And that is one truly beautiful car. That is technologically something, Roger. I guess very special, right?
MR. PENSKE: Very special.
THE PRESIDENT: Went a little faster than the other ones. But it also had to do with your right foot, I think. (Laughter.)
MR. LOGANO: A little bit.
THE PRESIDENT: We’re delighted to be joined by some tremendous people who are doing a great job for our nation: Secretary Alex Acosta. Alex, thank you very much. Labor. Secretary Elaine Chao. Elaine, thank you. Transportation.
And many of the great members of Congress: Representative Jim Banks. Where is Jim? Hi, Jim. Tim Burchett. Tim. Where are you, Tim? Thank you very much. Very good. And I know you like this sport, don’t you, huh? (Laughter.) Thank you, Tim. Rodney Davis. Rodney, thank you. Mark Green. What a great job you do on television, Mark. Thank you. He’s always defending me. That’s very nice. Thank you. (Laughter.) Richard Hudson. Thank you very much, Richard. Thank you. And Dusty Johnson. Thank you very much.
And we have a lot more in there. Let’s see, I think we have Ralph Norman. Is Ralph here? My friend — central casting. I always call him “central casting.” (Laughter.) Bill Posey. Thank you, Bill. Phil Roe. The great Phil Roe, huh? Thanks, Phil. Mike Thompson. Thank you. Michael Waltz. Thank you. Thank you, Michael. Good job. Great job. And Steve Watkins. Thank you very much. Thanks, Steve.
And many of the state and local leaders. Too many politicians to announce. We won’t bother with the rest of you guys. Just — you can be angry at me for a week only. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank nice NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton for being with us. Thank you, Mike. I’ve been with you for a long time. I sort of consider you a friend. I watch you on television. And you’re as famous as NASCAR, in its own way. Right? But you’ve done a great job, Mike — for being here.
As well as Team Penske’s Chairman and Founder, a friend of mine for a long time — I won’t say how long because it will tell us about our age and we don’t to discuss it — but we’ve been friends for a long time. I know a lot about Roger. Too much. I know too much about Roger. He’s a great man and a great guy.
And over the course — this is incredible to me because I looked at these stats before getting up — over the course of the 2018 season, the Number 22 team earned 26 top-10 finishes, led 934 laps — that’s a lot, right? Huh? Won three races and competed against three former champions in the playoffs, and came out ahead.
The battle for the championship was a nail-biter right to the end. In the final race of the season, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway — a nice one — Joey took the lead in a daring high-line pass with only 11 laps to go, clinching the title. So when you get out in front, it’s tough for the — you just don’t — you will not allow somebody to come back, right?
MR. LOGANO: Don’t look back. (Laughs.)
THE PRESIDENT: He’s a good frontrunner, fellas, I guess. Huh? If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be standing up here, right?
It was a heart-pounding, high-octane NASCAR action finish. And it was a great race and a great season.
While Joey might be the star out there on the track, Team Penske could have never made it without all of the great crew that we have with us today.
So to Joey, Vice Chairman Walt Czarnecki — Walt? Walt? Hi, Walt. That’s what I thought, Walt. Say hello to your wife. He said his wife likes Trump. And I said, “And I like her, too.” Right? (Laughter.) Team President Tim Cindric — Tim? Great job. Fantastic Job. Crew Chief Todd Gordon — your times are good in there? Huh? Hit a little danger with that stuff, right? Not when you have him driving. It’s the other guys you have to watch out for. Great job. It’s a fantastic job.
And the Number 22 team, I just want to congratulate you. Todd Gordon, the whole crew — I hear it’s just incredible what you’ve done. You’ve set records of your own. Where’s Todd? Yeah. You’ve set the records of your own. And truly talented people. We appreciate it. I watch it all the time and I marvel at how you can do that. I marvel at how you do it. And so — it’s precise. It’s a great thing for the people of this country to watch, and plenty of them do. I want to congratulate you. Great team.
And I want to congratulate all of the speed records, the strength, the stamina — and that’s true; that’s really true — that carried you on to victory.
Team Penske proudly claims 517 major race champions and race victories, 34 national championships — here’s something incredible — and 17 Indy 500 wins over the course of its history. So you won 17 Indy 500s. And I know a lot of people that have tried to win the Indy 500. They weren’t so successful in winning one or coming in second, third, or tenth. And you won 17. So, Roger, that’s like an incredible — (applause) — it’s an incredible achievement. It’s called, “They’re winners,” right? They’re winners. The team is a winner. And NASCAR is a winner.
Fresh off the 2018 championship season, this year, Roger Penske was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Roger began his career as a driver in 1958 before he made a name for himself as a team owner. And, Roger, I have to say, I’ve watched you from business to racing to ownership of cars, and I just watched you have victory after victory. 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. Thank you, Roger. (Applause.) Thank you. There are few people like that. Few. Very few.
I also want to recognize Joey’s wife, Brittany. Where’s Brittany? Come on up here, Brittany. Come on up here. Come on. Come on, Brittany. (Applause.) Great. Great. And Brittany and Joey have a one-year-old son, Hudson. Does he have that kind of talent?
MR. LOGANO: (Laughs.) Not sure yet.
THE PRESIDENT: You want him racing, someday? I don’t know. Keep him out of those cars. (Laughter.) I don’t think so.
At the end of his championship race, Joey celebrated by placing little Hudson inside of the very NASCAR Cup Series trophy — well, it can’t be that one. Yeah, that one. (Laughter.) It’s a very small baby. I’m saying, “Where’s the trophy?” And that was quite a scene. It was all over the place. It was quite a scene.
As Joey said that night, “Winning a championship is great, but it’s nothing compared to being a dad.” Boy, is that central casting, that statement. That’s a perfect statement. (Applause.) Here’s the great, also, Sarah Huckabee. You never heard of Sarah Huckabee, right? Sarah Sanders. Thank you, Sarah.
NASCAR is not only a thrilling display of skill and power, but a celebration of the American spirit. So true. No matter who wins the race, you never forget what matters most: God, family, and country. (Applause.) And nobody embodies that more than you folks, I’ll tell you.
And with champions like you, I am confident that NASCAR will continue to excite and inspire millions of devoted fans across our nation. I’m a fan. And I have friends that know every driver, every car, every number. I say, “What else do you do?” That’s what they do. They love it. And they have great respect for you and admiration for your courage and your skill.
So to every member of this championship team: Congratulations again on your amazing achievement.
And with that, I’m really honored to welcome to the podium the Chairman of Penske Corporation, and one of the truly great people of this world — not only our country; I really mean that — one of the truly great people of our world, Roger Penske. (Applause.)
MR. PENSKE: Thank you, Mr. President. Certainly an honor for me to be here today and to have you invite our team to be a part of this great celebration of the 2018 Championship.
To me, the opportunity for us to be at the nation’s capital today was amazing for our team. The chance to visit the White House is something you dream about, and we can tell our grandkids forever of 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. (Applause.) Without that, we wouldn’t be here today.
And when I think about this sport and what’s taken, for me, a common thread through our businesses. And today, this group — team — over here of people represent Joey and the 22 Team. But we have 500 members, Mr. President, back in Mooresville and 60,000 Penske Corporation employees that thank you and the people here today to have us as part of this celebration. It’s just amazing.
I want to thank the France family and Mike Helton and the team at NASCAR to give us these stadiums around the country so we can compete.
Let me tell you a little about Joey Logano. Joey is a racer. His family — all of us family helps us get to where we are, but Joey’s dad and his mom have been a big part of his championship run. We were fortunate enough to get him on our team several years ago. But he delivers not only on the racetrack — and I want to say not only on the racetrack, but Brittany and Joey give so much back to the community.
And I’ll tell you a story. The night before the race, Mr. President, at Homestead, Joey and Brittany were at a Publix, giving out 100 turkeys to homeless people. That’s the man that’s the championship in 2018. (Applause.)
So, with that, I’d like to introduce Joey Logano. I know he has some comments to make. And thank you, Mr. President.
MR. LOGANO: Well, thank you. It’s such an honor to be speaking here. Actually, I kind of got to pinch myself to think what I’m doing here right now. But 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. And today we had quite the experience to see your team — the team that makes our amazing country be what it is. And this is 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. So I need to thank, obviously, our military and our leaders that give us the opportunity to go out there and do what we love every day.
Whether it’s driving racecars or watching it, or playing golf — whatever it may be, whatever you’re into — we get to do that because we live in an amazing country.
So I just need to thank everyone for that. I still can’t get over my car sitting here in front of the White House. (Laughter.)
But I want to leave you guys with something before that. You know, to be a champion, you know, you don’t have to drive a racecar. You don’t have to have a ring or a trophy. Sometimes, being a champion, you can be doing the smallest things, and it’s just doing the right thing at the right moment, and helping those that need it the most.
So, you know, I just want to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity to drive a racecar and live my dream in an amazing country.
So, with that, we want to give you a little gift as — thanking you for being our President and giving us this amazing day. So we have a helmet over here that we wore during the championship season — or I wore during the championship season. And hopefully it doesn’t smell that bad for you. (Laughter.) So we wanted to give you that, along with a trophy that looked just like the actual trophy.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Well, I really — I’ll have a great place in the Oval Office for that, actually.
MR. LOGANO: Awesome.
THE PRESIDENT: We have some wonderful champions — some Super Bowl champions and others. And that will be right at the top of the list. We appreciate it.
And I said to Joey, “Do you think that the crew would like to see…” — we rarely do this — “but would they like to see the Lincoln Bedroom?” Do you have any interest in seeing the Lincoln Bedroom? Have you seen the Lincoln Bedroom before? Not too many people have. It’s very special.
So I thought we’d take, maybe, the crew. And I don’t know if you congressmen and women want to come up? Let’s go, okay? We’ll go see the Lincoln Bedroom together, okay? I’ll give you a personal tour. It is special, and you are special, special champions.
So congratulations to all of you. And, Joey, fantastic job. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.
4:11 P.M. EDT