DAYTONA BEACH â Beginning Friday, people within two or three miles of Daytona International Speedway will likely hear the bellow of race engines signaling the trackâs annual Speedweeks program.
The Roar Before The Rolex 24 has become the beacon that guides competitors from all corners of the world to the first major motorsports activity of the new year.
The Roar is a 3-day tune-up forÂ International Motor Sports AssociationÂ sports cars, which will return in three short weeks for the 24-hour race that draws fans from around the country and world.
Since there are no other motorsports series in action right now, the Jan. 25-26 Rolex 24 has become something of a global All-Star race, attracting the top talent from across the globe.
Race fans in this area may be more familiar with the likes of Kyle Busch, who captured his second NASCAR Cup Series championship in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He will make his Rolex 24 debut later this month.
Busch will get his first taste of Daytona road racing in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 that he will share with co-drivers Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael De Quesada.
Busch and the No. 14 team are participating in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which is the largest in the field with 18 entries from nine different manufacturers.
âIâd like to thank everyone at Lexus Motorsports, AIM Vasser Sullivan and Toyota for this opportunity,â Busch said. âTo have the chance to run in such an iconic race as the Rolex 24 is certainly something Iâve thought about and wanted to do.
âMy partnership with Toyota and the history weâve had together is incredible. I would love to continue that history and maybe get my own Daytona Rolex to add to my trophy collection.â
After the Roar andÂ Rolex 24, Busch will return to stock-car mode, which starts in Daytona Beach during the second weekend of February.
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The ARCA 200, a stock-car series now owned by NASCAR, will ignite stock-car Speedweeks on Saturday, Feb. 8.
The following day, Sunday, Feb. 9, is a popular doubleheader â Daytona 500 pole qualifying followed by the Busch Clash.
After a series of twists and turns with various sponsor and format changes, the Clash has gone back to its roots with Busch, makers of some iconic beer brands, including Budweiser. The first Busch Clash was staged in 1979.
Speedweeks concludes with the Sunday, Feb. 16 Daytona 500.
But donât get too far ahead of the calendar, because this Roar session is packed with interesting tidbits.
For instance, at 12:15 p.m. Saturday IMSA will run its first race of the 2020 season, the 3-hour Prototype Challenge.
The next day the GT Le Mans and Daytona Prototype International (known as DPi) will run 15-minute qualifying sessions that will determine garage and pit road stall selections going into the Rolex 24.
Wayne Taylor used some of the data collected at the 2019 Roar test and turned that into Rolex 24 race gold.
Taylor has won two Rolex 24s as a driver and two as a car owner, including last yearâs endurance run.
âWe are replacing three drivers,â Taylor said. âItâs important that we figure out how these guys are going to work together, how we go about driver changes during pit stops. The series is so competitive now you can win or lose the race in the pit lane.
âWith this lineup, being at this Roar is a priority. And itâs good to be here to see what everybody else is doing, and have a better handle on how we come back for the race.â