Trump’s reelection campaign goes pedal to the metal at Daytona 500

The president grabbed the attention of the sold-out racetrack with an Air Force One fly-by.

2/17/2020 2:00:00 AM

It wasn’t a campaign event, but this year’s Daytona 500 race had many of the trappings of a MAGA rally

The president grabbed the attention of the sold-out racetrack with an Air Force One fly-by.

DAYTONA, Fla. — It wasn’t a campaign event, but this year’s Daytona 500 race had many of the trappings of a MAGA rally with spectators in red hats, waving American flags, and holding Trump signs inside and outside the Daytona International Speedway.President Donald Trump’s reelection machine took full advantage of the millions of NASCAR eyeballs watching on race day by airing an ad on Fox and flying a bright red “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” banner near the track. Fox carried the event live

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on television, and Fox News commentator and Trump stalwart Judge Jeanine Pirro,Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoylewatched from a VIP section of the track.AdvertisementTrump’s President’s Day weekend in Florida demonstrated how Trump plans to approach

his 2020 campaign — showcasingthe presidency to his MAGA base and raising money with high dollar donors across the country. Before heading to Daytona, Trump raised $10 million for his reelection and the Republican National Committee with a small private dinner of 40 of his wealthiest supporters. Then, on Sunday, flew to Daytona International Speedway where he was met by a largely friendly crowd of NASCAR enthusiasts.

“NASCAR fans are patriots who support the President in huge numbers, so we definitely wanted to communicate directly with them about Keeping America Great during the Great American Race,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement.

Both Trump and the campaign are keenly aware of the importance of keeping the support of both NASCAR fans and Florida voters. The president narrowly won his recently-declared home state in 2016, and he maintains a tenuous49 percent approval rating here. And NASCAR fans, which number in the millions, historically lean slightly conservative in polls.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, speaks before the start of the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race. | Alex Brandon/AP PhotoBefore Trump even stepped foot inside the massive racetrack, he grabbed the attention of the sold-out stadium with an Air Force One fly-by.

“NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family and country,” Trump said in remarks to fans before the race, reprising a line he has used before at the White House. “Tires will screech, rubber will burn, fans will scream, and the great American race will begin...[drivers will] make their play for pure American glory.”

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Then he delivered one of the most famous lines in sports, “Drivers, start your engines!” to roaring motors and cheers from the crowd, kicking off the Super Bowl of stock-car racing with a dramatic display of patriotic pomp.Trump alsoshowed off his own fancy piece of machinery — the presidential limousine known as “the Beast,” with a lap on Daytona’s track. While it clocked in at a much slower speed than the other high performing vehicles that later followed, the circuit was still met with roaring applause by the stadium.

Trump was courted by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), who represents the area in Congress, to be the first sitting president to serve as Grand Marshal for the Daytona 500 and the 62nd running of “The Great American Race” — a special honor with the famed responsibility of giving the “start your engines” command.

In a phone call with the president, Waltz said he reminded Trump that the event’s attendance of over 101,500 cheering fans would be more than double that of the NCAA National Championship game he appeared at in January. Over 9 million viewers tuned in to watch the Daytona 500 on television in 2019.

“I told him how all-American it is, and patriotic,” Waltz told POLITICO at Daytona. He said the president was excited about the prospect of taking a lap with the Beast.“We were talking about taking the limo on a lap around the track and he said that would be amazing,” Waltz said. “I told him you’re not going to see any kneeling here.”

Race fans watch from the grandstands as Air Force One circles the Daytona International Speedway as President Donald Trump makes his arrival. | Jim Topper/AP PhotoRecent grand marshals for the race have included Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Hollywood stars like Owen Wilson, Gerard Butler, and Vince Vaughn.

The president, who calls himself a fan of the sport, has wooed NASCAR owners and drivers as president. During his 2016 presidential run, Trump was endorsed by former NASCAR CEO Robert France, he awarded Roger Penske the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 and hosted 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano at the White House.

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“NASCAR is not only a thrilling display of skill and power, but a celebration of the American spirit,” Trump said during Logano’s 2018 visit. “No matter who wins the race, you never forget what matters most: God, family, and country.”Ronald Reagan was the first sitting president to attend a Daytona International Speedway race in 1984, during Richard Petty’s 200th Cup Series win at the Firecracker 400. George H.W. Bush attended the Pepsi 400 in 1992, and George W. Bush, like Trump, had a dramatic arrival at the Daytona 500 in 2004 with an Air Force One fly-by and lap around the track in his motorcade. Dale Earnhart Jr. won the race that year.

“Daytona International Speedway has been privileged to have hosted several sitting Presidents of the United States over our history,” track 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.”

According to a NASCAR spokesperson, it’s the fifth consecutive sold out year of the race.Gary Fineout contributed to this report. Read more: POLITICO »

Trump believes that the NASCAR fans are too stupid to realize he's a con man and a crook. Oh, and it is the not the first time a race at Daytona has been affected by rain. Trump is not the first president to attend a race at Daytona. We Tax payers got stuck with the Bill--------------------- Pretty damn big one 😂

Nope. He messed that up too. Look at how the Beasts suspension system is contorted. On another subject, has he shown concern for Mississippi's floods? In other words: Trump gets lots of support at world’s whitest sporting event Shocking IT WAS A CAMPAIGN EVENT! the car race was obviously co-opted as a political rally. it was good PR-the kind Trump likes. it trumped anything the Dems could do. captive audience in person & online and on tv. can't get better than that for the GOP!

It was bullshite Couldn’t stand seeing him Another presidential waste of our tax dollars. We KNOW this. We know how he manipulates his base. We know what he says at his rallies. Can’t you find anything better to report? How about something we don’t know. Like where are the children? When will we stop gun violence? How about the many without food, housing, healthcare?

Paid for by the American taxpayer “Tires will screech, rubber will burn, fans will scream, and the great American race will begin...” So, am I to understand that all this carnage occurs BEFORE the race even starts? It was a campaign event Bloomberg, Sanders and Warren would be as comfortable as a cat on a hot tin roof hanging with the deplorables at a NASCAR race. They don’t get the average American

Snake OBama used the drugged out Hollywood crowd That was great that we could see the support of NASCAR as a place people can come together praise America for a change. It was so great to hear the children singing it was beautiful and the fly over gave chills down my spine. A great Americana day! the rain was called for it came

The presidential limo and Air Force 1 are not props. IT’S AGAINST THE LAW! He had no official govt business today. TRUMP BROKE THE LAW USING TAXPAYER FUNDED GOV’T PROPERTY FOR HIS CAMPAIGN STUNTS. lotsa white, lotsa southern, lotsa redneck makes for a perfect IMPOTUS MAGA cult rally Uuhhh, not a shocker. Trump cares nothing about NASCAR, less about religion, but exploits both to his advantage. Fitying that the race had to be cancelled as neither Hazmat nor the rain were unable to remove his stench.

🤮🤮🤮 And the American people pay for this? Like a campaign event but paid for by tax payers Super Duschbag. Keep spending the taxpayers money. Play golf in Daytona with your friends while you were there and charge it to your stupid voters? And the rest of us? . WTF? Not a Campaign Event? Sure. . Taxpayers paid for it

I watched. Don't build up his reception. It was actually mild, not a big yahoo for Trump. People are not stupid. This was another made for TV show. It failed, just like the others. DevinNunes Spotted in CA! Anything to be the center of attention. He can't get enough of it. Free campaigning so he can keep the campaign money raised for himself!What happened to the investigation of his 2016 campaign financial fund,Barr stopped it !

Love to see the FAA paperwork approving a low fly over Daytona residential. Gross Yep. No teeth and about 2000 warrants for arrest in the crowd Why is a frown his wife’s resting face? 😞😞😞😞😞😁😞😞😞😞😞😁😞😞😒☹️😞😁. Isn’t she getting paid enough to keep it up? Yes it was a campaign event. Fuck nascar

The tRump touch !! Rained out ! Wasting $$'s right and left!!! Doesn't anyone care? he could show off all his 'toys' that the overburdened taxpayers afforded him, then he can speak to a hostage, paying audience that can't leave or they won't be able to see the races they paid for. WAY to pack them in! Everything tRump touches dies !! I am not surprised it was rained out !

Quacks like a duck🦆 Trump Derangement Syndrome is real. May cause hypocritical statements, forgetfulness, lack of equal application of outrage, bigoted comments towards those with opposing views, and an overall unattractive vindictive dangerous attitude and mindset. Trump sucks! Maga means makes America gag again.

He brought a hooker Sieg Heil, mein Amerikan Dummkopf! cargoesround cargoesround cargoesround brilliant Fantastic! Latinos para Trump 2020, guaranteed! and now it's rained out lol No crash? It was a campaign event!!! And it rained ☔ on his parade? Not nice to cross Mother Nature... God crying after seeing realDonaldTrump at Daytona500

Melania looked right at home. trump ruins everything. Even a race. He jinxed the race. I think Trump is a marketing genius. Of course it was a rally. Funded once again by the taxpayers. Vote Trump Trump on his way to AF1. Look at all the salty losers crying cause some people went out and had a good time lol

Cry more Libs Fun idea, but who’s paying for it? Spare me. He’s a crash test dummy What global warming? The USA will demonstrate its sincerity for change when its against the law to sit in gas sucking pigs idling away hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline daily, 24 hours a day 365, picking up junk food, banking and whatever else. USA→Denialists

Is it Karma that in the end, in Daytona, it 'rained on his parade' Trump......what a jerk! Do you mean to say Gentlemen start your engines is political ? Trapping? Wth does that mean? Eat your heart out politico! So what? And it was indicative of NASCAR Nation. Truly Trumpistan. Well at least he knows where his audience is

NASCAR is losing the popularity they enjoyed post 9/11. They will likely shrink back to their original fan base. Don't think for a second that Madison Avenue hasn't figured it out already. Hate rally with cars. We should be reimbursed for this trip. Of course the Trump curse is still in effect. The Daytona 500 has been in rain delay for hours and the ratings have collapsed. Karma is real.

White rednecks? Yeah. Stop it. This had more than the trappings of a campaign event, it WAS a campaign event. The Bully Racetrack, I guess. They used to say sporting events shouldn't be political. Stick to sports they said. Sounds about white to me considering he is doing this with the whitest sport in the US. NASCAR can have him.

Me - Me - Me - How so? Because people were chanting USA?

Trump Makes Campaign Stop at NASCAR's Daytona 500The president pulled out all the stops for the race. Not only did Air Force One circle above the track, Trump also took a lap in the presidential limo GAO to review Trump administration's $28 billion farm bailout That's kind of 'cool', is that at the track? If so never saw airforce1 make a low fly by of an event. Might be kind of scary for the ppl at the event, if the're not expecting it. Still nevertheless cool ! Makes sense. They're both flat out all the time, going around and around, with the occasional crash.

Trump Kicks Off the Daytona 500, and a Race for Florida VotesPresident Trump’s appearance at the Daytona 500 was a highly choreographed showing and part of a concerted effort by his re-election campaign to solidify support among his core voters No crap. Was disgusting

Trump's presidential motorcade leads pace lap for Daytona 500, Trump was grand marshalAfter Trump delivered the message for Daytona 500 drivers to 'start your engines,' he became the first sitting president to lead the pace lap, and he did it with a presidential motorcade. You spelled wizard wrong Trump ruins everything come on media, no one gives a damn about these 2 lowlifes.

Trump and George W. Bush both attended the Daytona 500 during campaign - Business Insider'NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family, and country,' Trump said before the Flordia race Sunday. who cares what the moron realDonaldTrump is doing .. Pandering to the rubes by driving a heavily armored limo around a NASCAR track. Solid flex. Once again, Trump proves that everything he does or says is for the purpose of him getting re-elected. Everything.

Trump looks to rev up his base at Daytona 500President Donald Trump is out to rev up his appeal with a key voting demographic — NASCAR fans — as he takes in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. NASCAR drivers may veer to the left during their trip around the oval racetrack, but their fans lean right, which helps explain the regularity with which GOP presidents Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Masky_Jay_Hoody

President Trump Attends Daytona 500, Jokes He Wants to RaceTrump is really, REALLY excited to be at the Daytona 500 today. He might even drive off in joy. Hopefully it crashes and burn 👀 He'd piss his pants and crash.