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President Trump receives cheers as he gives start command

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump participated in the ceremonial pre-race events at Sunday’s Daytona 500, the biggest NASCAR race of the year, which also opens the 2020 season.

The President was greeted with loud cheers during a pre-race speech, which began at 2:33 p.m. ET and lasted roughly four minutes.

Flanked by first lady Melania Trump, Trump began his remarks with, “My fellow race fans, the Daytona 500 is a legendary display.” He closed with, “Rubber will burn, fans will scream and the great American race will begin.” He ended his remarks at 2:37 p.m. ET to chants of “USA” and to his 2016 campaign tune, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump stand for the national anthem before the Daytona 500.

Trump then served as the race’s grand marshal — only the fourth sitting president to do so for a race at Daytona International Speedway — giving what’s commonly described as the most famous words in motor sports: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

In recent years, the command traditionally has started with the gender-neutral address “Drivers,” but there were no women competing in the Daytona 500 this year.

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