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President Trump to be Daytona 500 grand marshal, tell drivers to start engines

The green flag flies on a new season of NASCAR. (Nascarking/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump will be the grand marshal of the Daytona 500 Sunday.

Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile released a statement confirming Trump will attend the race that read, “Daytona International Speedway has been privileged to have hosted several sitting presidents of the United States over our history. 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.”

The Associated Press later confirmed Trump would be the race’s grand marshal, an honor typically given to celebrities invited to attend the race.

Trump is expected to fly into Volusia County to attend the race. Travelers using any airports in the county along with fans driving to the race Sunday should expect delays due to heightened security.

A notice to airmen, or NOTAM, released by the DeLand airport earlier this week stated that the Federal Aviation Administration’s Daytona Beach Tower “has advised us that there is a strong possibility that President Trump will attend the Daytona 500 Sunday arriving about 13:30 (1:30 p.m.) and sticking around for a couple of hours.”

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The Daytona 500 is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. The Fox pre-race show will start at noon and the network will air the race that officially kicks off the 2020 NASCAR season and is widely considered the Super Bowl of the sport.

Trump has attended numerous sporting events, including the College Football Playoff national championship game won by LSU in New Orleans.

Presidents have visited Daytona International Speedway for memorable races in the past.

George W. Bush was president when he visited the Daytona 500 in 2004.

President George H.W. Bush attended the Firecracker 400 in 1992.

And President Ronald Reagan attended the 1984 Firecracker 400, which was NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s 200th win and final victory before retirement in 1992.

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©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.