Two of NASCAR’s most popular stars, Kyle Busch and Hailie Deegan, completed their first laps at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend in preparation for the 2020 IMSA Rolex 24 weekend in a few short weeks.
Busch, who will compete with Vasser Sullivan Racing, drove the No. 14 Lexus RC-F GT3 for numerous laps over the course of the three day test. While Busch is no stranger to driving his No. 18 Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy Cup Series around road courses, this will Busch’s first Rolex 24 start at Daytona. He will be teamed with Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada.
Two of the most important differences between the Toyota Camry and Lexus is the weight and brakes. The Camry is a much heavier than the Lexus, which requires a greater distance to slow down. “I’m used to our big, heavy stock cars, where you have to start the slow-down process way early and the braking zone is forever. By the time you turn in, you have to be off the brakes or otherwise the inside wheels will lock up and you’ll skid tires. You also have to take care of the brakes, because our Cup cars are so heavy and they’re steel. You can really overheat them and create a soft pedal,” Busch explained about his race car.
While Busch was coming to grips over the course of the weekend with his Lexus RC-F GT3, Hailie Deegan was experiencing her first trip to Daytona. While Deegan of course had Daytona on her radar for the future, she never thought it would be on the high banks of the Daytona road course. “I never thought I’d race a road course especially at Daytona, that was new for me. 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,” Deegan stated.
Deegan will pilot the No. 22 Ford Mustang GT4 with NASCAR Xfinity regular Chase Briscoe in a few weeks for the opening round of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Austin Cindric will compete as well for Ford, driving the No. 15 Ford Mustang GT4 as a team car to Deegan and Briscoe. Cindric will be teamed with rising sports car star Sebastian Priaulx.
“I’m really excited just to gain experience in these new cars. 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,” said Deegan about her debut with Ford.
The IMSA Rolex 24 weekend gets underway January 22nd and runs through January 26th. To learn more about IMSA, visit IMSA.com for more details on their 2020 season.
Featured Image Credit: John Raoux (Associated Press)
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