The US President served as the Grand Marshal, giving the drivers their starting orders. He became the second President to do so, behind George W Bush who attended the Daytona 500 in 2004. Prior to the start of the race, Trump told fans: “There is no greater thrill than to join you at the world center of racing for the 62nd Daytona 500 – so exciting.
“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.”
The US President also thanked the families of fallen service personnel who attended the race, commenting that they had “made the supreme sacrifice to honour our freedom and our flag.”
He added: “Your fallen warriors will live in our hearts forever.”
After his address to the crowd, Trump along with his wife Melania did a quarter lap of the racing track in the presidential limousines, nicknamed “The Beast”.
Unveiled in 2018, the 20,000-pound fortified Cadillac CT6 stretch sedan, comes fully loaded with bags of the president’s blood type.
The $1.5 million (£1.15 million) seven-seater limo also comes equipped with special features, designed to ward off every kind of terror attack and assassination attempt.
It can spew out a smokescreen, fire tear gas and leave an oil slick to thwart a car chase, according to a report by NBC.
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The car also has at least 8-inch-thick walls and 5-inch, multi-layer windows that make the doors as heavy as those on a Boeing 757 jet.
The Daytona 500 is considered the Super Bowl of stock car racing and has served as the NASCAR season opener since 1982.
The 500-mile race will be contested by 40 drivers who will make 200 laps of the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The winner takes home a replica of the Harley J. Earl Trophy and about $1.5 million or £1.15 million in prize money.
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In a statement last week, the President of the Daytona International Speedway, 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.”
This comes as Trump continued his spat with the former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, on Twitter.
Mr Bloomberg, who owns the media company Bloomberg, is vying to win the Democratic presidential nomination for the elections in November.
Last weekend, the US President mocked the media mogul for being short.
Mr Bloomberg, 77, is 5ft 8in tall, while Trump, 73, is 6ft 3in.
Trump suggested in an interview with the Fox News host Sean Hannity that the former New York mayor had specifically asked for a box to stand on during the Democratic primary debates, so he could be seen.
This produced a stinging response from Mr Bloomberg, who called the US President “a pathological liar, who lies about everything.”
On Sunday, Trump sought to stir things up again in a tweet where he ridiculed the Democratic challenger for his “zero presence”.
He wrote: “Mini Mike Bloomberg is a LOSER who has money but can’t debate and has zero presence, you will see. He reminds me of a tiny version of Jeb “Low Energy” Bush, but Jeb has more political skill and has treated the Black community much better than Mini!”
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