IMSA: The big names competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona

Rolex 24, IMSA
Rolex 24, IMSA /

The 59th running of IMSA’s Rolex 24 at Daytona has a star-studded driver lineup this year, including drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula 1.

The unofficial start to the major racing calendar each year is an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in January.

This year’s running of the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway will include some of the biggest names from multiple major racing series across the globe, including NASCAR, IndyCar, and Formula 1.

Six drivers who took part in NASCAR-sanctioned events are set to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year. This list includes NASCAR’s most popular driver and reigning Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, former Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 winner Austin Dillon, part-time Xfinity Series star A.J. Almendinger, part-time Cup Series and Xfinity Series driver Cody Ware, and Xfinity Series road course ringer Andy Lally.

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This will be Johnson’s first televised race since he retired from NASCAR at the end of the 2020 season. It will also be the first IMSA race in which he has competed since 2011 when he drove in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He has driven in a total of nine races, including seven editions of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in the series, but he has not yet gotten a win.

This is the only confirmed IMSA race for Johnson this season, as he is also set to compete in all 13 of the road and street course races on the IndyCar schedule with Chip Ganassi Racing.

To go along with the six NASCAR drivers from 2020, there are also 12 IndyCar drivers from 2020 who are set to compete in this race. Six of these drivers competed full-time last year, including reigning champion Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Rinus Veekay.

The others are Sebastian Bourdais, Oliver Askew, Spencer Pigot, J.R. Hildebrand, Zach Veach and Helio Castroneves. Castroneves has been participating in IMSA since the end of the 2017 season, and he won his first championship in the series in 2020. Veach is starting his first year as a full-time driver in IMSA after making the switch from IndyCar to sports cars following the 2020 season.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who is set to compete in the 2021 Indy 500, is also set to compete, as is Ed Jones, who is set to return to IndyCar full-time in 2021.

There is one Formula 1 driver from 2020 who is set to compete in this race as well. Kevin Magnussen competed for Haas and is set to make his debut as a full-time IMSA driver this year after leaving Formula 1. He is set to compete for Chip Ganassi Racing in their return to top-level prototype racing.

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Be sure to tune in for this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona starting on Saturday, January 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The race is slated to be televised between NBC, NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports app. Nowhere else will you get to watch so many stars from the world of motorsports race against each other on the same track.