President Donald Trump is planning on attending the Daytona 500 race on Sunday.
“I look forward to attending the Daytona 500 on Sunday with lots of my great friends from Florida, including the France family and @RepMichaelWaltz from #FL6. See you there, good luck to everyone!” Trump wrote Friday on Twitter.
I look forward to attending the Daytona 500 on Sunday with lots of my great friends from Florida, including the France family and @RepMichaelWaltz from #FL6. See you there, good luck to everyone! @NASCAR @SenRickScott @marcorubio @GovRonDeSantis https://t.co/e0SUl4GfBm
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
Trump has a long relationship with NASCAR and its fans. He was endorsed by NASCAR CEO Brian France during the 2016 presidential election.
Daytona is welcoming Trump, even naming him the grand marshal of Sunday’s race, making Trump the first sitting president to hold the honor.
“Daytona International Speedway has been privileged to have hosted several sitting Presidents of the United States over our history,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said in a statement. “We’re honored that the President of the United States has chosen to experience the pageantry and excitement of ‘The Great American Race’ by attending Sunday’s 62nd annual Daytona 500.”
But is attending a NASCAR race really enough? Not for Trump.
Word quickly began circulating that Trump might actually take a lap around the famed track in the presidential limo known as The Beast.
“SCOOP: Multiple Sources tell @FoxNews that @realDonaldTrump is planning to take a lap at the @DISupdates Daytona International Speedway in the ‘Beast’ presidential limo ahead of the Daytona 500. It’s not 100%, but that is the plan at the moment,” Fox News’ John Roberts wrote on Twitter.
SCOOP: Multiple Sources tell @FoxNews that @realDonaldTrump is planning to take a lap at the @DISupdates Daytona International Speedway in the “Beast” presidential limo ahead of the Daytona 500. It’s not 100%, but that is the plan at the moment.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) February 15, 2020
Memes started moving right away, like this video found on reddit.com.
Trump's getting ready for a a lap around Daytona. pic.twitter.com/TjBCHKPp4g
— Joseph Curl ❎ (@josephcurl) February 15, 2020
And this one.
Will Trump have secret service run alongside? pic.twitter.com/mTD7bC9fas
— Alamo_on_the_rise 🆘🍑 (@AlamoOnTheRise) February 15, 2020
The Beast isn’t exactly the kind of vehicle built for speed. It cost millions to produce and is a heavily modified Cadillac. It’s so weighted down with armor that it weighs up to 20,000 pounds (no one knows for sure, so secretive is the production of the vehicle). The Beast has eight-inch thick steel doors that weigh as much as those on a Boeing 757, and the five-inch thick front windshield can protect the president from armor-piercing bullets. The Beast also has “run-flat tires,” an air-tight interior that seals against chemical attacks, along with some offensive capabilities, such as rocket-propelled and smoke grenades, pump shotguns in the front doors, and a tear gas cannon.
Toss in night vision optics, onboard oxygen tanks and an armored fuel tank filled with foam to prevent explosion and you’ve got one of the most secure cars in the world.
Trump loves showing off The Beast, like he did when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in 2018.
WATCH: President Trump walks with Kim Jong Un to show off his presidential limousine that is nicknamed "The Beast." https://t.co/SjJeNHlVRD pic.twitter.com/f2CJ4ZHR6x
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 12, 2018
Trump won’t be the first to attend the venerable race. Former President George W. Bush attended the Daytona 500 in 2004 and his father, former president George H.W. Bush, attended a July race at Daytona in 1992. Ronald Reagan also attended a race in 1984.
The U.S. Secret Service tweeted Wednesday that it was securing the Daytona International Speedway. The presidential security branch noted that drones will be banned within a 30-mile radius of the site.
Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines but not your drones. The Secret Service is securing the @NASCAR Daytona 500 by providing a 30 mile “No Drone Zone”. Enjoy the race. pic.twitter.com/pHjp7Bvwix
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) February 12, 2020
NASCAR drivers are stoked that Trump’s dropping by the big race, ABC News reported.
When Trump arrives Sunday at Daytona International Speedway to deliver the command for drivers to start their engines, the race’s grand marshal might as well be at one of his campaign rallies. High above banners flying for NASCAR stars like Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson, Trump flags wave atop row after row of flashy RVs. …
Two Cup Series champions, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano, have been honored at the White House. Kyle Busch, the reigning series champion who visited the White House and President Barack Obama following his 2015 title, said he would go again if invited by Trump. Logano said it was “amazing” Trump was attending “The Great American Race.”
“The leader of our country is coming to the Daytona 500. How cool is that?” Logano said. “That kind of solidifies what our sport is. It’s a huge event. We’re a big sport, and to be able to have the president come here, that’s something we all should be proud of. Whether you support him or not, it doesn’t matter. It shows the unity in our sport and how big our sport really is.”