President Trump Rides 'The Beast' Around Track as Daytona 500's Grand Marshal


President Donald Trump became the first president, sitting or former, to be named the Grand Marshal of the Daytona 500. As a result, on Sunday, he voiced the race's traditional opening commands, "gentlemen, start your engines" and also rode "The Beast," his armed-limo, around the track.

"It really is the Great American Race," Trump said on the FOX broadcast moments before the race began. "And I look at this as almost a patriotism kind of thing."

Trump said he has attended the race four times before, but not since 2001. He was joined alongside the First Lady.

Ahead of the race, Air Force One also swooped in around 800 feet above the racetrack, according to FOX's broadcast.

U.S. Secret Service tweeted earlier in the week that it was securing the Daytona 500 by establishing a 30-mile "no drone zone" around the racetrack.

According to the Associated Press, Trump’s reelection campaign will air an ad during the broadcast of the race and will additionally fly an aerial banner. On Saturday, veteran NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek drove a car with a Trump-Pence 2020 logo displayed throughout the car.

The Daytona 500 marks the first race of the NASCAR season.

George W. Bush was the only other sitting president to attend the Daytona 500, doing so in 2004.