By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway always brings many of the best racing drivers across all disciplines. The latest racing superstar to make the crossover will be Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch.
At the annual ‘Motorsports Day’ event Toyota and Lexus hold in Plano, Texas Monday morning, Lexus Motorsports announced the 2015 Cup champion will make his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut at Daytona January 25-26, 2020, piloting an AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 that competes in the GTD class.
As a cornerstone of Toyota’s monstrous success in NASCAR since 2008, Busch said running the Rolex 24 will make his partnership more enriching and hopes to play a role on bringing a class victory for the Jimmy Vasser-James Sullivan owned team.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Lexus Motorsports, AIM VASSER SULLIVAN and Toyota for this opportunity,” Busch said. “To have the chance to run in such an iconic race as the Rolex 24 is certainly something I’ve thought about and wanted to do. My partnership with Toyota and the history we’ve had together has been incredible. I would love to continue that history and maybe get my own Daytona Rolex to add to my trophy collection.”
To get advanced preparation for the prestigious race, Busch will be apart of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 January 3-5, 2020.
While the specific car and drivers joining alongside Busch is to be announced at a later time, Vasser is thrilled to have him at Daytona.
“We’re thrilled to have a racer of Kyle’s caliber join AIM VASSER SULLIVAN to open our 2020 season at the Rolex 24 at Daytona,” Vasser said. “Kyle has proven he can compete and win in many forms of motorsports and we look forward to having him drive the Lexus RC F GT3 at Daytona.”
Lisa Materazzo, Lexus Division’s Vice President of Marketing, recognizes Busch’s success with Toyota and is pleased to have him in the Lexus Motorsports program.
“Kyle has been a fixture in our Toyota family for over a decade and is the winningest driver in the Toyota NASCAR program,” Materazzo said. “He has accomplished so many firsts for Toyota throughout his tenure and we couldn’t be happier to have him join AIM VASSER SULLIVAN and drive the Lexus RC F GT3 in a world class event like the Rolex 24 at Daytona.”
One driver that won’t be running the Rolex 24 will be Busch’s teammate, 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex, Jr.
During Friday’s press conference at Texas Motor Speedway, Truex admitted he was offered to race but declined. He ran an IROC race at the 3.56-mile circuit 13 years ago where he finished sixth out of the 12-car field.
“I didn’t think it was going to be as much fun as I hoped,” Truex said. “I raced the Daytona road course once, and I was pretty terrible at it. I really didn’t want to tear their car up to be honest.”
Busch has won four out of his 55 Cup victories on road courses with two apiece at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
He’ll join the likes of former Rolex 24 overall winners A.J. Allmendinger and Jeff Gordon, along with his brother Kurt, Jimmie Johnson and both Dale and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s that have accepted the challenge before him.