Seeing it as an opportunity to show Americans that "we don't let such cowardly acts get in the way of our lives," President Barack Obama honored 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski at the White House Tuesday.
The commemoration came 24 hours after the bombing of the Boston Marathon which killed three and wounded countless others. There had been some question whether the event would go on.
"I know the entire NASCAR family shares with me just an incredible sense of loss," Obama said in the ceremony that was broadcast via the White House video feed.
"We mourn the victims," he added. "We pray for their loved ones and rest assured, as I said today and will continue to say until it gets done, we're going to uncover whoever it is that was responsible for yesterday's cowardly act. We're going to find out why they did it and they will be brought to justice."
There were also some moments of levity during the ceremony on the South Lawn with Keselowski and his Penske Racing team.
Some of the biggest laughter came after the president quipped that he was glad to be hosting a different champion instead of Jimmie Johnson, who won five consecutive championships from 2006-10.
"I was getting tired of seeing Johnson all the time," Obama said.
The president also commented on Keselowski's infamous interview on SportsCenter moments after winning the title in which he was guzzling beer and appeared to be intoxicated.
"I don't think a single of one of Brad's fans have forgotten the post-race interview he gave on SportsCenter after taking the Cup at Homestead," Obama said.
Keselowski was also recognized for his work with the Checkered Flag Foundation, a charitable foundation which according to its website provides a "VIP NASCAR race experience" to veterans wounded in combat.
"For Brad, our veterans are an important part of his team," Obama said. "I'm going to quote him: ‘I couldn't do what I do on the racetrack without these men and women making the sacrifices that they do for me.'
"So Brad, I want to thank you for visiting with some of our wounded warriors later this afternoon."