Aside from the expected naysayers, President Trump’s visit to the Daytona 500 on Sunday was a rousing success for all concerned, with the excitement and patriotism overflowing.
And no one had more fun that the drivers in the sport — at least until rain would later postpone the “The Great American Race” until Monday.
Trump was the official grand marshal of the race, delivering the most famous words in motorsports, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” But the fun didn’t stop there, as the president took “The Beast,” as the presidential limousine is known, for a thrilling lap around Daytona International Speedway.
Hailie Deegan is an 18-year-old rising star in the world of NASCAR. Competing in the ARCA Menards Series — Deegan finished second last Saturday in her first ARCA race at Daytona — the young driver was on hand Sunday and posted a response to a tweet from Trump noting that he will be at the Daytona 500.
“Today’s goal. Get my helmet signed by Trump,” Deegan tweeted.
This prompted a response from Donald Trump Jr., hilariously encouraging Deegan to contact him via direct message: “DM me… I may know someone.”
DM me… I may know someone. https://t.co/bJoxmZFP73
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 16, 2020
Turns out, he must have known the right person because…
Goal complete ✔️ @POTUS pic.twitter.com/Y99m0mr2OA
— Hailie Deegan (@HailieDeegan) February 16, 2020
Deegan, whose father, Brian Deegan, is a motocross legend and off-road racer, wasn’t slated to drive in Sunday’s big race, but other drivers who did compete shared photos taken with the president.
Clint Bowyer being one of those drivers. A veteran driver, Bowyer is one of the more popular drivers in the sport, known as much for his fun-loving disposition as he is for his skill.
Suffice it to say, the down-to-earth driver was very impressed with President Trump.
“Not going to lie, I had no idea what to expect,” Bowyer tweeted. “The man walked in shook all our hands, took selfies, and whatever we asked of him. I judge people on how they treat me and others I’m with, and that’s why I really appreciated meeting @POTUS. thanks for coming to #DAYTONA500.”
Not going to lie, I had no idea what to expect. The man walked in shook all our hands, took selfies, and whatever we asked of him. I judge people on how they treat me and others I’m with, and that’s why I really appreciated meeting @POTUS. thanks for coming to #DAYTONA500 pic.twitter.com/Ih0DVaTLAr
— Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) February 16, 2020
Living up to his nature, he followed that tweet with a photo of him with first lady Melania Trump.
“Hell, while we’re telling the truth. I may have enjoyed this pic even more,” he joked.
Hell, while we’re telling the truth. I may have enjoyed this pic even more. 😜 pic.twitter.com/I9iBWapMA3
— Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) February 16, 2020
Bowyer is also the driver heard in the video shared below by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., responding to Trump taking a lap at the track — note Scalise’s intro: “WARNING: May Trigger Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
“He’s gonna pace the field?” Bowyer asked his crew chief on the radio, adding with a laugh upon getting affirmation, “Love it, God, that’s awesome!”
⚠️ WARNING: May Trigger Trump Derangement Syndrome.
WATCH → President Trump takes a lap at the #DAYTONA500 in front of an electric crowd!
Nothing more American than @realDonaldTrump and NASCAR!!
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 16, 2020
In the same clip, Jeff Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion and one of the sport’s greatest drivers ever, who was announcing the race on Fox, said he was “jealous.”
“I would love to be in this Daytona 500 field out there competing today,” he said, as he watched the presidential limo circle the track. “This is just so special.”
Kurt Busch, another former champion competing Sunday, was complimentary of the president: “Plain and simple, @realDonaldTrump is a man of the people. Thank you & @FLOTUS for coming to the #Daytona500. Your presence and speech had these 100k fans all pumped up!”
Plain and simple, @realDonaldTrump is a man of the people. Thank you & @FLOTUS for coming to the #Daytona500. Your presence and speech had these 100k fans all pumped up! pic.twitter.com/r5yPW69A7Y
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) February 17, 2020
Another driver, Aric Almirola, whose father is from Cuba, also shared a photo with Trump.
Thanks for coming to the Great American Race, @realDonaldTrump. We’ll put on a show tomorrow. #Daytona500 pic.twitter.com/mlGo22XQsd
— Aric Almirola (@Aric_Almirola) February 17, 2020
The fans were just as excited about the president’s appearance, chanting “four more years” as he arrived at the track.
As @realDonaldTrump gets out of The Beast before "God Bless America" was sung at the #DAYTONA500, the crowd erupts with chants of "Four More Years" and "USA!" pic.twitter.com/4KkXQJPMxd
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 16, 2020
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