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Trump appears likely to attend Daytona 500

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU
President Trump at the College Football Playoff national championship game Jan. 13 in New Orleans.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

All indications are that President Trump will be headed to a friendly audience on Sunday by attending this year’s Daytona 500.

The Federal Aviation Administration posted a notice on its website on Monday to “expect VIP movement February 16, 2020 in the vicinity of Daytona Beach, FL. Pilots can expect airspace restrictions in conjunction with the VIP movement.” On Wednesday, the U.S. Secret Service tweeted that it was imposing a 30-mile no-drone area for the race, giving further indication that Trump will attend.

The White House has not confirmed the president’s visit and Daytona International Speedway officials said they are awaiting word. Trump is attending a fundraiser in Palm Beach, about 200 miles away, on Saturday night.

Nearby DeLand Airport, a small airport used mostly by private planes, said it was alerted by the Daytona Beach tower “that there is a strong possibility that President Trump will attend the Daytona 500 Sunday arriving about [1:30 p.m.] and sticking around for a couple of hours,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

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NASCAR has long been a bastion of Republican and conservative support. Trump has praised NASCAR in rallies because fans stand for the national anthem. Brian France, the former chief executive of NASCAR, publicly endorsed Trump in his election campaign and the president has mentioned him at rallies. France left his post as CEO after he was arrested and later convicted of driving under the influence in New York.

Trump carried Volusia County, where the racetrack is located, with 55% of the vote in 2016.

Trump would be the second sitting president to attend the race. George W. Bush attended the race in 2004. Presidents Ronald Reagan (1984) and George H.W. Bush (1992) have visited the speedway but during its Fourth of July weekend race.


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