On Sunday, President Trump became the first sitting U. S. president to serve as Grand Marshal at the Daytona 500 and only the second to attend the NASCAR event.

He treated fans to a flyover in Air Force One and then rode an historic lap in the presidential limo, nicknamed “the Beast.” Following this, Trump kicked off the race with the line, “gentlemen, start your engines.”

Fox News reports:

President Donald Trump gave an election-year embrace to NASCAR and its fans Sunday when he became the second president ever to attend the Daytona 500. He said the racers and their teams were competing “for pure American glory.”

In remarks to the crowd shortly before the race was to begin, the president said, “Soon the cars will take to the track for the start, tires will screech, rubber will burn, fans will scream and the Great American Race will begin.”

Given the honor of commanding drivers to start their engines, Trump made a grand entrance before the start of the race. He gave thousands of fans a flyover of Air Force One and then rode onto the track in the presidential motorcade as the audience roared with delight. The motorcade took roughly a quarter lap before pulling aside in an infield staging area.

. . . . “For 500 heart pounding miles these fierce competitors will chase the checkered flag … and make their play for pure American glory, and that’s what it is, pure American glory,’’ Trump said.

He said the Daytona 500 was “a legendary display of roaring engines, soaring spirits and the American skill, speed and power that we’ve been hearing about for so many years. The tens of thousands of patriots here today have come for the fast cars and the world-class motorsports. But NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family and country.’’

Watch President Trump’s remarks:

 

 
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