It’s the biggest NASCAR race of the year; The president will be there
Donald Trump will become the first president to visit a NASCAR event in 15 years
This Sunday, NASCAR will take the green flag in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Daytona 500 will begin the 2020 season on the 2.5-mile oval of Daytona International Speedway.
100,000 NASCAR fans will be in attendance. The Secret Service will also be in attendance as President Donald Trump is set to become the 4th president to attend the Great American Race.
“Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines but not your drones. The Secret Service is securing the @NASCAR Daytona 500 by providing a 30 mile ‘No Drone Zone’. Enjoy the race,” the Secret Service tweeted yesterday.
It’s unclear when President Trump will arrive on Daytona Beach. However, his appearance will ground all plans DeLand Municipal Airport just ahead of arrival.
Trump has been visiting various sporting events in recent months. Met with mixed reactions, he was booed at the World Series attendance and cheered on during the college championship football game.
I would anticipate the warmest welcome the president has ever received when he lands for the NASCAR event in Daytona Beach.
Previous Presidents to attend Daytona 500: Ronald Reagan in 1984, George H.W. Bush in 1992 and George W. Bush in 2004.
Reagan gave the command to start engines from Air Force 1. He touched on the back straight-away landing strip and created the iconic imagery of Air Force 1 alongside NASCAR race cars.
Related: Daytona 500 tv schedule
Donald Trump has a long history with NASCAR regarding his campaigns.
As the president continually bashes the NFL, for their lack of national anthem support. NASCAR on the other hand, is usually used as his example of how to honor the flag correctly.
2016: Brian France speaks at Trump rally
In 2016, Donald Trump hosted a rally at Valdosta St. University ahead of the election.
NASCAR Legend Bill Elliott attended with his son Chase Elliott. Other NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman and David Ragan attended the same rally. Additionally, the NASCAR CEO, at the time, Brian France stood at the podium.
“Mr. Trump is changing American politics forever and his leadership and strength are desperately needed. He has had an incredible career and achieved tremendous success. This is what we need for our country,” Brian France said in 2016.
Donald Trump took notice of his strong NASCAR support.
“I am proud to receive the endorsement of such an iconic brand and a quality person such as Brian [France],” Trump said in a statement.
“Brian has a wonderful family and is an incredibly successful business person. I have great respect for Brian and I am grateful for his support.
“And that of Bill Elliott, one of the best drivers in history, and active stock car racers, including his son Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, and David Lee Regan,” Trump added in 2016.
2017: Trump on NASCAR fans and the national anthem
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired,’ ” Trump stated during a rally 2017 rally.
Soon after, many NASCAR team owners were asked how they would react to team members kneeling for the national anthem. The question brought interesting discussions that sparked a response from the president.
We don’t see kneeling at NASCAR events because team members might have a difficult time finding their way home.
Richard Childress: “Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over. I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America,” NASCAR team owner Richard Childress stated.
Richard Petty: “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States,” Richard Petty stated in comments reported by the AP.
Team Penske: “It’s an issue we’ve never faced and don’t anticipate facing,” stated a rep for Team Penske.
This sparked a response from the president:
“So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!,” Donald Trump tweeted in 2017.
2017: Martin Truex Jr visits the White House
In 2017, Martin Truex Jr attended the White House as the 2017 champion of the sport. Trump pointed at Brian France, who was the NASCAR CEO until his DUI arrest in 2018.
Related: Brian France arrested for DUI
“Where’s Brian?,” Trump called out for the NASCAR CEO from the podium in 2017.
“Brian’s been with us since the beginning. Like so many others who love NASCAR. He’s been really supportive, right from the beginning. I want to thank you very much Brian. That was incredible.”
“And I will tell you, one thing I know about NASCAR, they do indeed, Brian, stand for the playing of the national anthem, right,” Trump stated to a cheering crowd.
“They do indeed. Somebody said maybe you shouldn’t say that, that’ll be controversial. I said, ‘That’s OK, NASCAR’s not going to mind it at all.’ Right fellas? They don’t mind it at all.”
2018: Donald Trump notes the arrest of NASCAR CEO
Following the arrest, Donald Trump commented on France during an October 2018 rally.
“We love – you know what I am talking about – the France family and Brian France. We love you, Brian. Brian, get in there Brian.” Trump continued, “Brian is going to be in great shape. Brian is a tough winner.”
“That whole France family, they are pretty good. That’s like owning the entire NFL, you know that right? What a great thing.”
2019: Joey Logano visits the White House and Trump praises NASCAR fans
Joey Logano took home the 2018 NASCAR championship. The following year, Roger Penske unloaded his No. 22 team on the White House lawn.
“A friend of mine for a long time. I won’t say how long because it will tell about our age and we don’t want to discuss that. But, we’ve been friends for a long time. I know a lot about Roger. Too much, I know too much about Roger,” Trump said of NASCAR team owner Roger Penske.
“NASCAR is not only a thrilling display of skill and power but a celebration of the American spirit,” President Donald Trump continued from the White House podium.
“No matter who wins the race, you never forget what matters most: God, family and country. And nobody embodies that more than you folks.”
“With Champions like you, I am confident that NASCAR will continue to excite and inspire millions. I’m a fan. And I have friends that know every driver, every car, every number.”