Obama honors NASCAR champ at event overshadowed by Boston

Noting that victims of the Monday bombing included marathon runners and fans, Obama spoke of the shared bonds between competitors.

"I know the entire NASCAR family shares with me just an incredible sense of loss. We mourn the victims, we pray for their loved ones," Obama said.

He also reiterated his pledge to capture whoever was responsible for the attack.

“We’re going to uncover whoever it is who was responsible for yesterday’s cowardly act... and they will be brought to justice," Obama said.

Declaring that "we don't let such cowardly acts get in the way of our lives," Obama transitioned to praising Keselowski, who edged Jimmie Johnson to capture the Sprint Cup championship last year.

The president applauded Keselowski's volunteer time meeting with wounded soldiers and the racing league's efforts on behalf of veterans.

Obama also found a brief moment for levity in the final moments of the ceremony, joking he wanted to check out Keselowski's "spiffy car" parked near the White House's South Entrance.

"Brad offered to allow me to drive it around the South Lawn, but Secret Service once again said no," Obama quipped.