All revved up: Trump takes ‘The Beast’ for a lap around race track

President Donald Trump has completed a ceremonial lap around a race track in his armoured limousine – known as “The Beast” – to open this year’s Daytona 500.

Mr Trump became the second US president to serve as grand marshal at the annual Florida race, which is considered the most prestigious in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Part of the presidential motorcade took a lap around the track just before the race started.

The president's motorcade took a lap of the track
Image:The president’s motorcade took a lap of the track

The president then kicked off the race, telling drivers: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

However the competition had to be called off mid-race due to “inclement weather” and is set to resume on Monday.

Trump told racing fans: 'May the best team win'
Image:Trump told racing fans: ‘May the best team win’

In his opening remarks, Mr Trump said there was “no greater thrill” than to be at the event.

“To all of the drivers, technicians and pit crews here today, good luck and may the best team win. God bless you, God bless our military, God bless our veterans and God bless America. Have a great race,” he said.

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President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, gives the instructions "gentlemen, start your engines," before the start of the NASCAR Daytona 500
Image:Trump said there was ‘no greater thrill’ than to be at the event

Mr Trump also thanked the families of fallen military servicemen who were in attendance.

“Your fallen warriors will live in our hearts forever,” he said.

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The Daytona 500 has opened each NASCAR season since 1982 and is a 200-lap, 500-mile-long race.

In a statement last week, Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile said: “We’re honoured 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.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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