The NASCAR season will begin on Sunday with the 62nd running of the Daytona 500. President Donald Trump will be in Florida for the event, and he will be making history on Sunday. He will be the first president – sitting or former – in United States history will give the traditional command of "start your engines" to the 43 contestants.
According to FOX News, Trump will be named grand marshal for the Daytona 500, joining only one other sitting president to attend the "Great American Race" in Florida. George W. Bush was in attendance for the 2004 race, the year in which Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first 500. Earnhardt was the grand marshal in 2018, and he will be on hand to wave the green flag as an honorary starter.
The president will be named the grand marshal of the race, but that will not be the only way in which he is featured this weekend. Joe Nemechek will be driving a Mike Harmon Racing car in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday. This vehicle will have Trump/Pence 2020 logos as part of the president's reelection campaign.
Trump has several ties to the sport of NASCAR. He was endorsed in 2016 by former NASCAR CEO Brian France Jr. He also hosted series champions Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. at The White House. In 2018, Trump gave NASCAR team owner Roger Penske the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
With the president in attendance, there will be extra security measures put in place at Daytona International Speedway. The U.S. Secret Service has implemented a 30-mile no-drone zone on race day. The Daytona Beach International Airport has also revealed that there will be additional security measures at the airport.
The Daytona 500 marks the latest in a series of visits to high-profile sporting events by President Trump. He was on hand for the College Football Playoffs National Championship between LSU and Clemson, a UFC event at Madison Square Garden, the Army/Navy football game, and the World Series. He also attended the regular-season battle between LSU and the University of Alabama.
The Daytona 500 begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports. This will be the final 500 for 19-year veteran Jimmie Johnson, who will be looking for a record-setting eighth Daytona 500 win. Denny Hamlin won the 61st running of the Daytona 500 in 2018.
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