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Donald Trump takes ‘the Beast’ for a spin around the Daytona 500 track

The presidential limousine known as “The Beast” at Daytona (Alex Brandon/AP)
The presidential limousine known as “The Beast” at Daytona (Alex Brandon/AP)

Donald Trump delighted crowds at the postponed Daytona 500 as he took a lap around the famous Florida rally course in his presidential limousine.

Followed by a motorcade of racing cars, the chauffeur-driven vehicle – nicknamed the Beast – carried Mr Trump around the Florida race track to roars from the crowd.

Mr Trump had earlier given the thousands of fans a flyover in Air Force One, as he became the second president ever to attend the 500-mile Nascar showpiece.

Given the honour of commanding drivers to start their engines, Mr Trump is the second president to attend the race after George W. Bush, also in his reelection year.

However, after two lengthy rain delays the race was postponed due to the conditions for the first time since 2012, and rescheduled for Monday.

Mr Trump’s re-election campaign planned to run an ad during the Fox broadcast of the race and fly an aerial banner near the speedway, where 100,000 people were expected to attend the event while millions more watched on television.

Trump NASCAR Daytona 500
The motorcade for President Donald Trump arrives before the start of the Nascar Daytona 500 race (Alex Brandon/AP)

Forces beyond his control took hold, however.

The first delay came moments after the presidential motorcade completed its ceremonial parade, as a brief shower forced race drivers back to the pits.

The start already had been pushed back 13 minutes to accommodate Mr Trump’s trip.

NASCAR Daytona 500 Auto Racing
The motorcade with President Donald Trump makes its way through turn one after arriving at Daytona International Airport (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

The race eventually got underway, but after 20 laps came a heavy downpour, soaking a racing surface that takes hours to dry.

NASCAR called drivers back to their cars around 6:40pm local time, but the return of heavy rain forced the postponement.

It no doubt choked some of the excitement out of an event that had been a raucous celebration for hours, some of it prompted by Mr Trump’s dramatic entrance.

After his scheduled return Sunday evening to Washington, Mr Trump will embark later this coming week on a Western state swing that will take him to rallies planned in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Colorado Springs, Colorado.