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President Donald Trump opens the Daytona 500: 'So exciting'

MICHELLE STODDART

President Donald Trump opens the Daytona 500: 'So exciting' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

President Donald Trump on Sunday addressed NASCAR fans before the start to the 62nd Daytona 500, calling the race "pure American glory."

“Soon, the cars will take to the track for the start," he said. "Tires will screech, rubber will burn, fans will scream and the great American race will begin.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Fwb. 16, 2020. (Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports)

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In his remarks, the president thanked the military, veterans and “tens of thousands of patriots” gathered at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. He also honored Gold Star families at the race and around the country.

"Gold Star families everywhere throughout our land, your fallen warriors will live in our hearts forever," he said.

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PHOTO: The Air Force Thunderbirds perform a flyover prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 16, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The president's motorcade took a lap around the famous track before the green flag. The president also acted as the Grand Marshal, telling drivers to start their engines.

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Trump is the second president to make an appearance at the Daytona 500; President George W. Bush was the first in 2004.

ABC News' Elizabeth Thomas contributed to this report.