Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump set the stage for the 62nd Daytona 500 when he said, "Drivers, start your engines!" The 40 competitors fired up their car and prepared for a 500-mile race. Trump was not done just yet, however, as he hopped in his presidential limo and took a lap around the Daytona International Speedway.
"Drivers, this is President Trump and it was an honor to open the Daytona 500, have a phenomenal day, have a great race, be safe, God Bless you, we love you," the president said to the drivers over the radio. He made this transmission from the limousine after pulling off of the track.
There were rumors heading into the weekend that the president would want to take a lap around the track while leading the 40 competitors. Questions remained about whether or not this would be allowed by NASCAR, as well as the Secret Service, but the lap did take place.
Interestingly enough, Trump did not take the lap alone. He was followed by a group of vehicles filled with his protective detail. Behind this group were the Toyota pace car and the 40 competitors.
As this lap progressed, Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy discussed the various aspects of the race. They were worried about the speed required to keep the stock cars on the track. These drivers needed to maintain a speed of at least 70 mph.
This speed was a concern for "The Beast" in which Trump rode. Could this 22,000-pound vehicle drive fast enough to keep the pre-race lap moving without issues? Gordon and Joy were both concerned about this aspect of the event, but there didn't appear to be any issues. Trump pulled off the track after his lap and gave way to WWE star, Sheamus, who was driving the official pace car.
With The Beast off of the track, Sheamus led the way for the official pace lap that would kickstart the event. However, this did not pan out as expected. The cars kept circling at Daytona in wait of the green flag waving. It was later revealed by Gordon and Joy that there was a rain delay. Instead of flooring the gas pedal and jockeying for better position, the drivers had to pull off the track and wait for better weather.
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