Former President Trump attends Coca-Cola 600 race

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States and the presumptive Republican nominee in November’s general election, arrived Sunday at NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600.

This marks the second time Trump has attended a NASCAR race since February 2020, when he served as grand marshal of the Daytona 500, becoming only the fourth sitting president to do so for a race at Daytona International Speedway.

The Coca Cola 600 is taking place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. A member of Trump’s communications staff posted a video clip of Trump, wearing a dark suit and red hat, waving to the crowd at the speedway Sunday afternoon. Video of Trump’s plane flying over the track went viral earlier in the day.

According to Jonathan Coleman, senior director of communications for Charlotte Motor Speedway, this is the first time in the track’s history that a current or former President has attended a race at the venue. In 1994, former President Bill Clinton visited the speedway as part of a Ford Mustang 30th anniversary event, but he did not attend a race.

In 2020, Trump carried North Carolina, which is expected to remain a key battleground state in the upcoming general election. Trump won the state in 2020 with 50.1% of the vote, beating President Joe Biden by nearly 75,000 votes.

The Coca Cola 600, which takes place annually during Memorial Day weekend as a key event in the NASCAR Cup Series, coincided with the 2024 North Carolina Republican Party Convention that concluded hours before the race, in Greensboro. Though not a confirmed guest during the week leading up to the convention, Trump gave a brief speech Friday via a phone call, when his son Eric put him on speaker when Eric was on stage addressing the crowd, according to the Greensboro News and Record.

Trump’s visit to the Coca Cola 600 also coincides with the end of his hush money trial in New York, with closing arguments scheduled to begin Tuesday. He is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors allege Trump disguised reimbursements to former aide Michael Cohen and is accused of violating campaign finance laws when he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016 to stay quiet about a sexual encounter that allegedly happened a decade earlier.

Back in 2020, when Trump served as grand marshal of the Daytona 500, that role included giving what’s commonly described as the most famous words in motor sports: ‘Gentlemen, start your engines.’

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