ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Do you believe that there is something out there that guides us through life and puts us where we need to be? That might just be the case with NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Twice, he seemed to be in the right place at the right time, on and off the track.
Those who follow the No. 2 driver on Facebook, you will know of his weekly adventures touring the campgrounds on Friday nights, searching for fans to surprise. But the Friday before the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, Keselowski made the most amazing connection.
"He just said, 'Hey, how are you? I'm Brad Keselowski.' and I was like 'Yeah, I know who you are!'" NASCAR fan Kiley Coursey recounted of that night.
For Keselowski, it might have a been a typical Friday night, but for Coursey, it was so much more.
“It looks like this is what he does on the weekends, at race weekends, goes and checks out different spots and everything,” said Coursey.
This was Coursey’s second race without his father, having lost him in 2017. Coursey’s father was his racing buddy and his best friend. He was also the man responsible for the family’s infield camping site at AMS for the past 30 years.
“He was like he was sent there to me. It's very difficult to go to races without my dad now and...” Coursey said, trailing off when thinking of his father.
So, Coursey’s encounter with Keselowski seemed to be just for him and it started out with a much-needed hug.
“Yeah, the hug was very special and like it was sent to me.”
“He gave me what two new flags, signed 'em, he gave me a standup autographed by him, he signed the dash of my dad's truck.”
“I think if he could he would have been with us all night long.”
The night ended with Keselowski planting the No. 2 flag high above the family’s camper.
Coursey admits he has been rooting for Keselowski since he took over the 2-car.
Sunday, Keselowski seemed to be guided yet again. Fighting through flu-like symptoms, he captured his own flag, this one of the checkered variety, clinching the win in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
Coursey and his son Chase were watching it all.
"I grabbed Chase and we just kind of hugged it out right there. It meant a ton. It meant a ton," Coursey recalled, fighting back his emotions.
Keselowski spoke with FOX 5 Sports Anchor Cody Chaffins from victory lane about that special evening.
Keselowski: “Ran into someone whose been coming to the track for a long time and his father just passed away. That was really special to be able to show him our appreciation and to be here.”
Chaffins: “Good Karma comes back?”
Keselowski: “Yeah, sometimes!”
This week, life returned to normal for Coursey, a Lanier Longhorns baseball coach, who was preparing to battle Mountainview.
He has been spending time talking with pitcher Jake Hoffman, who lost his own father last week.
"I reach out to November Smiles, a while back and then when we found out about Jake, got him involved with that and basically it's an organization, foundation where we help kids, young adults who lose a loved one or lose a parent, it's very difficult," said Coursey.
The tour is off to Las Vegas this weekend for its third of 36 races. For most Atlanta fans, the Atlanta race is already a distant memory, but not for Coursey. He is taking what he experienced and paying it forward. After all, what goes around, comes around.
To learn more about November Smiles visit novembersmiles.org.