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MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon got an invitation to tour Air Force One Tuesday as President Barack Obama traveled to Charlotte to speak to delegates attending the American Legion convention.
There was just one problem -- Gordon was taking part in the first day of a two-day test scheduled for Hendrick Motorsports teams at Martinsville Speedway.
Gordon’s wife, Ingrid, their two children and Gordon's stepfather and mother, John and Carol Bickford, were able to travel to Charlotte Douglas International Airport to tour the aircraft -- and wound up getting to meet the President as well.
"I don't like throwing this guy out there too much," Gordon said after wrapping up the first day's work. "But it’s a situation where there was a young kid that I met in '94 I guess, '94 or '95, at the Charlotte airport, and his family were big NASCAR fans. He came here and through the (race) shops. I was going through the airport to fly somewhere, and he was standing in front of me."
Gordon had just met the young man’s uncle, he said, "and he told me, 'hey, there’s a young boy over there and is a huge fan of yours. If you could just say hi to him.' So I said hi to him."
Twenty years later, Gordon said, the youngster now works at the White House.
"He's a great guy, and a fan of mine, but I'm just as big of a fan of his and the work that he is doing," Gordon said.
"He was coming to Charlotte and asked me if we wanted to go do a tour of Air Force One. I said, 'I'm testing.' So Ingrid and the kids and my mom and dad were able to go.
"They didn't know they were going to meet the President, they just thought they were going to go do the tour of Air Force One. But it worked out that they got to say hello to him as well."
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