Grand Marshal Trump Wows Daytona 500 Crowd

Grand Marshal Trump Wows Daytona 500 Crowd
  • Trump became the second president to attend the Daytona 500.
  • Daytona, Florida’s temperature was 79 degrees on Sunday.
  • The race was postponed later in the day due to rain. 
  • On Monday, Denny Hamlin won his second straight Daytona 500.

( – President Trump put on a show on Sunday as Grand Marshal at the Daytona 500. He and the First Lady Melania treated the crowd to a flypast and a lap of the track before starting the race.

A Great Relationship

President Trump is a long-time NASCAR fan, and admiration seems to be reciprocated. In 2016, Trump was endorsed by Brian France, Jr., the NASCAR CEO at the time. Since his election, he’s invited several champions and team owners to the White House and has vocally supported the sport.

In return, the president was invited to act as Grand Marshal at the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar. This makes him only the second president to attend the event, following on from George W. Bush who acted as Grand Marshal in 2004. President Reagan started the tradition at the Firecracker 400 race, also in Daytona, in 1984.

Race Day!

Trump’s visit began with a flypast in Air Force One, with images of the plane displayed on screens while the crowd chanted “USA!” This was followed by a powerful speech in which the president referenced and thanked the Gold Star families who were attending. He also congratulated new enlistees to the US Armed Forces and told the crowd that NASCAR fans are patriots who know that “no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family and country.”

Following his speech, Trump gave the traditional command, “Drivers, start your engines!” to the field of 40 drivers. Then, in a historic first, he led them around the track for a warm-up lap in the famous presidential limousine, the 11-ton, heavily/armored Cadillac known as “The Beast.”

Unfortunately, the weather reared its ugly head. Shortly after the presidential lap, a brief rainstorm delayed the start for over an hour. Eventually, the track was declared dry enough for the race to begin, but 20 laps into the 500-mile contest heavier rain returned, forcing a postponement to Monday.

Florida is a key swing state and President Trump will be hoping to build support there ahead of the election. Going by his reception on Sunday, he’s already made a good start.

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