NASCAR drivers have completed practice sessions ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway
Kyle Busch is set to run the Rolex 24 for the first time. Hailie Deegan is set for the Pilot Challenge event the day before the 24. They’ve both run practice session on the highbanks of Daytona International Speedway
Deegan will make her debut at Daytona International Speedway. However, it won’t be in a stock car.
She’s set to run the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge event on Jan. 24. The 18-year-old will pilot a Ford Mustang GT4 along with fellow NASCAR regular Chase Briscoe.
Beyond road racing, Deegan is also set for the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season. That will also open at Daytona in February.
Hailie Deegan on Daytona and IMSA
“I never thought I’d race a road course especially at Daytona, that was new for me,” Deegan said. “I always thought my first time at Daytona would be in an ARCA car but I’m happy to be here on the road course.”
“I’m really excited just to gain experience in these new cars,” Deegan said. “Just everything’s new. A fresh start. It’s waiting to get planned out, meeting new people, new faces, new relationships. I’m excited to grow the relationships in the Ford family and everyone that’s a part of it.
“One thing I haven’t really touched on in my career is road courses, pavement road course type stuff. Coming here and filling that base of what I’m missing as a driver as a hole is definitely going to help me be all around as a driver.
“I feel what makes a good driver is a driver that’s not just good at ovals or road courses they are good at everything and have that skill set. I think if I can just keep getting better skill sets to bring to my career, it will help even more.”
Deegan and Briscoe were 14th fastest in the opening round of practice. They improved to 9th in session two. By the final round of practice, they were 5th overall.
Kyle Busch running first Rolex 24
Kyle Busch is the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series champion. In 2020, his season will open on a road course.
Busch is set to drive the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC in the GTD-class. He will be a teammate to Shane van Gisbergan who’s a former champion in V8 Supercars.
It’s possible that Kyle Busch will be driving during the 6 hour night shift.
“My eyes will be shut – sleeping or driving,” Busch joked said smiling.
Kyle Busch will bring his NASCAR spotter to the road course.
“You’ve certainly got to pay attention to your rearview mirror and know what’s going on around you and coming up behind you, the faster cars and a closing rate that’s certainly greater than you’re used to ever, even if you’re a slow guy on a (NASCAR) Sunday – it’s a big deal,” said Busch said.
“There’s a ton of people here and we’re at a test,” Busch said. “I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen when we come back to the Rolex. It’s certainly awesome to see the crowd count and the interest people have in IMSA.”
This will be the first Rolex 24 for Kyle Busch. However, he previously ran a prototype at Daytona for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Kyle Busch’s team was 4th in the GTD class after the final practice session.
The Rolex 24 will begin on January 25th.