By Kelly Crandall (CONCORD, N.C.) – In connection with his successful Checkered Flag Foundation, Brad @Keselowski and luxury jewelry company David Yurman are teaming to honor one of his 2013 honorees.
Keselowski and Yurman will hold an open house on Wednesday, May 28 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Southpark Mall in Charlotte. The charity event will see the launch of its Frontier Collection, as well have part of the proceeds benefit Charlotte native Jacob Lerner.
A Purple Heart recipient from the United States Army, Lerner was serving in Afghanistan in 2007 when the vehicle he was riding in ran over an explosive device. Lerner survived only to step on landmine, which resulted in the loss of his foot and injuring an arm.
The Keselowski – Lerner connection however, goes much further. Not only was Lerner honored by the Checkered Flag Foundation last year, he also interned at Brad Keselowski Racing and is hoping to work his way into the sport as part of a NASCAR team. Lerner also joined Keselowski at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the past for a ride around the track.
For more on Lerner’s story you can see the YouTube video below.
Keselowski launched the Checkered Flag Foundation in 2010, with a purpose to support all those who have sacrificed for their country. That includes military members, veterans, first responders and their families. They’re often provided VIP experiences at the racetrack.
Sunday night, Keselowski will drive a red, white and blue No. 2 Miller Lite Ford in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Last year, the foundation hosted injured military and first responders at Charlotte during Sprint All-Star Race weekend, in which they rode around the track with Keselowski at full speed in the Race 2 Recovery Ford Fusion racecar used by the foundation.
The military, not just through is foundation or a past in driving a Navy sponsored car, holds a special place for the 2012 Sprint Cup champion. Keselowski wrote in his newest blog post that had it not been for NASCAR he would have gone into the military, which would have followed the footsteps of many in his family. Including his grandfathers and sister Dawn.
“But that was always my plan. If racing hadn’t worked out, I would have joined the military,” he wrote. “Because I’d heard about it from other family members, I was fascinated with the discipline, the mental strength that it takes to be a member of the military and the code of self-sacrifice and honor that goes with it. And I was also impressed by people who were really looking to make something of their lives and took that route.”
After every win, Keselowski flies the American flag outside his No. 2 on his way to Victory Lane.
“It’s not coincidence that the biggest racing weekend of the year is on Memorial Day. NASCAR was created in 1948, three years after World War II had ended. It was created by a lot of war veterans, and a lot of the garage is populated with former military because the lifestyle is so similar,” Keselowski wrote in the closing. “You’re kind of a gypsy in some ways. You need to have a lot of discipline and be able to follow orders, or somebody could get hurt, potentially fatally.
“Because of that, there’s a real affinity between the racing community and the military world that doesn’t exist in any other sport, as far as I can tell. My guess is that there probably always will be. And if I can play some small part in perpetuation that, I would be very proud.”
Wednesday’s gathering will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and some shopping.
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