Must read: Brad Keselowski opens up about terrifying off-track experience
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski is regarded as one of the more well-spoken and insightful drivers in the sport. He’s not afraid to offer his opinion or tell it like it is, whether it’s in the media center or on Twitter.
The Team Penske driver is not always the most open driver about his personal life away from the track, though. Yet, after Sunday’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Keselowski described a frightening off-track incident with a close friend that puts winning into perspective.
To read the full text of Keselowski’s story, in his own words, be sure to check out his blog: http://bradracing.com/races/kobalt-400/meaning-winning
To sum up the story, Keselowski had become close friends with a guy trying to make his way in NASCAR as an engineer. The pair worked their way through the JR Motorsports organization before going down their separate career paths.
Keselowski found success at Team Penske, while his friend was laid off from Hendrick Motorsports, and struggled to find work within the industry.
After taking his friend in as a roommate while he tried to get back his feet, the friend fell on even harder times and found himself in trouble with the law. Shortly after Keselowski asked him to leave, he noticed a few high power military-grade rifles missing from the home.
Not long after this occurred, there was a break-in at Brad Keselowski Racing.
When the local authorities found Keselowski’s friend, he was willing to turn over the guns to Keselowski – who did not want to press charges.
However, the friend also turned over papers linking him to the break-in at the race shop. At that point, Keselowski’s desire to keep his friend out of further trouble went away.
When the friend found out the police were looking for him, he fled.
With the series racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway that weekend, police were sent to Keselowski’s home and the speedway to monitor the situation. While most drivers enjoyed the rare gift of sleeping in their own beds, Keselowski was forced to stay at the track in his motorhome.
Despite the frightening situation, Keselowski remained focused and scored his lone victory of 2013 in the Bank of America 500.
Even after the victory, Keselowski could not celebrate as he wished. He wound up sleeping at the house of his crew chief Paul Wolfe.
While testing at Charlotte the next day, Keselowski received a call from his sister informing him the former friend had been found by the police.
"My heart sank," Keselowski wrote in his blog. "From the sound of her voice, I already knew what had happened."
The friend had taken his own life.
The unfortunate situation has given Keselowski a new approach to what it means to win races. He understands the sacrifices many have made to make it in the sport, only to be left out in the cold, searching for answers and no place to turn.
He not only dedicated this blog entry to those folks, but explained it is something he is "mindful of when celebrating a win."