DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - President Trump revved up NASCAR’s Daytona 500 crowd on Sunday, delivering the Great American Race's iconic command, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" as the grand marshal of the event.
He was the first of any president to take a lap in the armored presidential limo, dubbed "The Beast," FOX News reported.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump addressed the 100,000-seat racetrack at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway ahead of the race he called "pure American glory."
“The Daytona 500 is the legendary display of roaring engines, soaring spirits and the American skill, speed and power that we’ve been hearing about for so many years,” Trump told the crowd before the race began.
He called the tens of thousands of fans present at the racetrack "patriots," adding that "NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family and country."
Trump told Fox Sports in an interview that while he's not able to drive his own car as president, getting behind the wheel of one of the race cars was tempting.
"Right now, if I can, I'm gonna hop into one of these cars and I'm gonna get into this race, if possible," he joked.
After rumors that he would, Trump and Melania pleased the crowd by taking a lap in the heavily armored presidential limo, dubbed "The Beast." The lap in the 22,000-pound, Cadillac-branded limousine around the speedway marked a historic first for any president.
Trump, who was endorsed in 2016 by former NASCAR CEO Brian France Jr., has hosted series champions Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. at The White House and gave NASCAR team owner Roger Penske the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.
During the Daytona 500, drivers battle through 200 laps around the speedway in the 500-mile stock car race for a chance to lift the champion’s trophy on Victory Lane.
About 100,000 people are expected to attend this year's race and millions more will watch on television. About 9 million people took in last year's race on television.
You can watch the Daytona 500 on FOX 35.
FoxNews.com contributed to this report.