One day after explosions at the Boston Marathon took the lives of three people and injured at least 180 others, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski was honored at the White House as scheduled by President Barack Obama, who touched upon about how life must go on even in the face of tragedy.
“I know the entire NASCAR family shares with me a great sense of loss for the victims, and we pray for their loved ones,” the President said according to NASCAR.com’s David Caraviello. “And rest assured…We’re going to uncover whoever was responsible for yesterday’s cowardly act, find out why they did it, and they will be brought to justice.
“But one of the things I firmly believe in is that America is strong, and we are resilient, and we don’t let such cowardly acts get in the way of our lives.”
In addition to applauding Keselowski and his No. 2 Penske Racing team’s run to the 2012 Sprint Cup title, the President also recognized the Michigan native’s efforts to help wounded soldiers and their families through his Checkered Flag Foundation’s “Race To Recovery” program, which gives those servicemen the opportunity to enjoy VIP treatment at race weekends.
Keselowski later said to reporters that he appreciated that the event took place as scheduled — not because it was he and his team being honored, but because of the importance of the country to move forward and to show that “they won’t rattle us.”
As they checked out his No. 2 Ford Fusion that was parked on the South Lawn driveway, Keselowski had some time to talk with the President, who inquired about how teammate Joey Logano was doing following his post-race shoving match with Tony Stewart last month at Auto Club Speedway.
“I said, ‘Man, I didn’t know you followed it that closely,'” Keselowski recalled.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.