President Donald Trump helped kick off the 62nd annual Daytona 500 race in Daytona Beach, Florida Sunday afternoon. Before the race kicked off, Trump delivered a short speech to the crowd at the Daytona International Speedway. He was greeted with a friendly crowd, including "USA" and "four more years" chants. Following his speech, Trump told the racers to "start your engines" in his capacity as grand marshal.
"The Daytona 500 is the legendary display of roaring engines, soaring spirits and the American skill, speed and power that we’ve been hearing about for so many years," Trump said, with First Lady Melania Trump by his side, reports Fox News.
Chants of "USA!" and "four more years" break out at the Daytona 500 when President Donald Trump takes the stage.— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) February 16, 2020
Trump went on to call NASCAR fans "patriots," adding, "NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family and country." The president also addressed the crows as his "fellow race fans," and called he race "pure American glory."
Before arriving at the speedway, Air Force One flew low over the 100,000 seat venue. Trump's full motorcade, including the presidential limousine known as "The Beast," made a quarter lap before arriving at the infield staging area, reports the New York Post.
Trump is the second president to serve as grand marshal at the Daytona 500, following President George W. Bush in 2004. Appearing at a Daytona race during a re-election year has become a tradition for Republican presidents. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush visited the Firecracker 400 races at Daytona in 1984 and 1992, respectively.
Trump's re-election campaign is running a commercial during the Fox broadcast, as it did during the Super Bowl earlier this month. The campaign is also flying an aerial banner near the speedway.
"The Daytona 500 is one of the greatest events in sports and the prestigious season-opening event to the NASCAR Cup Series," Daytona International Speedway track president Chip Wile said in a statement last week. "Daytona International Speedway has been privileged to have hosted several sitting Presidents of the United States over our history. We're honored that the President of the United States has chosen to experience the pageantry and excitement of 'The Great American Race' by attending Sunday's 62nd annual Daytona 500."
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