Keselowski Speaks From the Heart
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on March 15, 2014 | 9:17 A.M. EST
Brad Keselowski said he's been encouraged by the response he's received about a personal story of loss he shared this week. (Photo: Getty Images)
BRISTOL, Tenn. - It was titled “The Meaning of Winning,’’ but its power came not from what happened on the track.
A few days after Brad Keselowski won last weekend’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he shared a closely personal story on his website bradracing.com
The story was about a person Keselowski met after joining JR Motorsports and how they became close friends. Keselowski’s friend - identified only as James - was a mechanic’s apprentice.
Keselowski’s friend later became affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports as an engineer but lost his job in a round of budget cuts. When James couldn’t afford his place, Keselowski allowed him to live rent free in his home.
As time progressed, Keselowski wrote that James began having issues with the law. Keselowski wrote that he told his friend he’d have to leave. Soon after, Keselowski noticed several items in his home missing, including some military rifles.
Police later investigated a break-in at Keselowski’s Camping World Truck shop. They eventually discovered that James had taken items from Keselowski’s home and the race shop. Police planned to arrest James. He fled.
This happened as NASCAR raced at Charlotte last October. Keselowski was provided with extra security at the track and officers watched his home. He won that weekend but wrote he couldn’t relish the victory because of the situation with his friend.
Two days later, Keselowski’s sister called to tell him that James had killed himself.
Keselowski said Friday that he felt he needed to share the story.
“It was one of those decisions where my lawyers and agent said ‘no’ and my heart said ‘yes,’ and I followed my heart, and I pushed the send button before they could get too involved,’’ he said.
“I realized how important it was to share it and help others with it. It took me a while to get to a spot personally where I could make that happen.’’
Keselowski said he’s encouraged by the response.
“The positive response has really meant a lot to me,’’ he said. “That’s from the fans and those inside the garage. There are a lot of people in this garage who have gone through similar struggles that I have and similar struggles to the individual in the story has happened to them or friends or people they know.’’
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