President Trump revved up NASCAR’s Daytona 500 on Sunday as Air Force One swooped down 800 ft. before landing.
Trump is only the second sitting president to attend the 500, behind President George W. Bush who issued the famous command in 2004, the year Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first 500. Earnhardt was on hand Sunday and waved the green flag as honorary starter.
His appearance follows in the footsteps of former President Ronald Reagan, who in 1984 became the first sitting president to attend a NASCAR race at the speedway when he started the Firecracker 400, giving the command, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” from aboard Air Force One.
Bill Clinton attended a NASCAR race as a presidential candidate in September 1992, but many fans at the Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., booed and heckled him over the question of his lack of Vietnam-era military service that stalked his campaign.
Watch as President Trump and Air Force One swoop down 800 feet over the track, before landing for the race.
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After taking The Beast out for a lap, Trump and first lady Melania Trump then addressed the 100,000-seat racetrack at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway.
“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 told the crowd before the event.
He called the tens of thousands of fans present at the racetrack “patriots,” adding that “NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family, and country.”
Trump, who was tapped to be the second-ever sitting president to act as grand marshal in the Great American Race, delivered the iconic “start your engines” command to the 40 drivers in the competition.
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