Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump is making history by becoming the first president to be named the grand marshal of NASCAR’s Daytona 500.
It was reported earlier this week that it was likely the president would make an appearance at the Great American Race.
Now it has been confirmed that not only will the president be there, but he will also be giving the “start your engines” command to the 43 entrants, Fox News reported.
Trump will be the first president, sitting or former, to hold the role. President George W. Bush was the only other president to attend the race, coming to the event during his 2004 re-election year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won his first Daytona 500 in 2004 and was the grand marshal in 2018, will be the honorary starter on Sunday.
On the day before Daytona 500, Joe Nemechek will be driving a Mike Harmon Racing car in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that will be decked out in Trump/Pence 2020 logos.
The Chevrolet Camaro’s decor is sponsored by the Patriots PAC of America in conjunction with Race Fans for Trump 2020, according to Kickin’ the Tires.
Joe Nemechek will be driving this #Trump2020 car at this Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona. Let’s hope he represents @realDonaldTrump in true Trump fashion with a WIN! pic.twitter.com/Gl7AqRCgSV
— Hall Nation (@realJoshuaHall) February 9, 2020
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This will be Trump’s second appearance at the Daytona 500.
He previously attended the 1999 race amid talks to build a racetrack on Long Island, New York, according to Racing Reference.
— nascarman (@nascarman_rr) November 9, 2016
Trump has enjoyed the support of many NASCAR officials, drivers and fans during his presidency.
Former NASCAR CEO Brian France endorsed Trump in 2016, and several drivers also expressed their support, Politico reported at the time.
An estimated 8,000 people also attended a Trump campaign rally at Daytona Beach, Florida, in August 2016.
The president also hosted Cup Series champions Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. at the White House and gave NASCAR team owner Roger Penske the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by President Trump and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Penske said in a statement, according to Automotive News.
“I am humbled by the President’s acknowledgment of our achievements in business, in motorsports and in our community. Thank you to President Trump for this special recognition.”
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