2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona: Schedule, TV info, start times, entry lists, more

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The 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona, the unofficial annual start to the auto racing season, will begin ramping up its schedule this week.

The 24-hour sports car endurance classic will attract a typically star-studded field that will include NASCAR and IndyCar champions and winners of the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.

In a scheduling twist, the Roar before the Rolex 24 — a preseason test session that usually takes place during the first week of January — will lead directly into the main event this season.

And for the first time in the event’s history, it will be capped by a 100-minute qualifying race Jan. 24 that will set the starting grid for the Rolex 24.

Here’s what you need to know about IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener Jan. 30-31 at Daytona International Speedway:


There are numerous driver and manufacturer changes in the premier DPi division, starting with the two-time defending Rolex 24 at Daytona winner.

Wayne Taylor Racing has switched from Cadillac to Acura and also brought in new full-time drivers Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque. Joining the No. 10 at Daytona will be Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi.

The split of Acura and Team Penske also will result in Meyer Shank Racing moving into the prototype class to run an Acura.

Chip Ganassi Racing will return to IMSA, fielding a Cadillac for Renger van der Zande (a winner in the past two Rolex 24s with WTR) and Kevin Magnussen (who arrives after four seasons with the Haas F1 team).

In the GTLM division, the exit of Porsche (which will focus on returning in the LMDh class in 2023) has led to some driver shuffling. Nick Tandy has remained in GTLM with Corvette Racing, while Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor have moved to GTD.

In addition to the new Rolex 24 qualifying race, IMSA also has several other wrinkles for the 2021 season, including a new points structure that includes points for qualifying and a new class in LMP3 for six races.

Under the new championship structure, points will increase by a factor of 10 with a victory now worth 350 points (previously 35). Points still are awarded from first to 30th.

Points also will be awarded for qualifying at 10 percent of the total (35 points for a pole). Qualifying points are awarded to all drivers in each car.


Per usual, the Rolex 24 has attracted numerous drivers in other disciplines who will be paired with full-time IMSA drivers.

Here’s a few of the stars crossing over from other series to the sports car classic that will open the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season:

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, AJ Allmendinger

INDYCAR: Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Colton Herta, Rinus Veekay, J.R. Hildebrand, Oliver Askew.

OTHERS (veterans of WEC, F1, DTM, etc.): Kamui Kobayashi, Robert Kubica, Kevin Magnussen (joining Ganassi’s team full time)


There are 49 cars on the entry list for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. That’s up from a record-low 38 cars in 2020.

The addition of a new LMP3 class and growth of the LMP2 and GTD divisions have offset some departures in DPi and GTLM.

Click here for the Rolex 24 entry list.


The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be shown flag to flag via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. It also will be streamed on the NBC Sports AppNBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

Broadcast coverage of the race coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 30 on NBC and then move to NBCSN from 4:30-8 p.m. ET. Coverage will move to the NBC Sports App from 8-11 p.m. ET and then back to NBCSN from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET on Jan. 31.

Coverage will move to the NBC Sports App from 3-6 a.m. ET and then to NBCSN from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. ET.

The Jan. 31 conclusion of the race will run from 2-4 p.m. ET on NBC.


Here’s a rundown of everything happening at Daytona International Speedway, starting with the Roar before the Rolex 24 test session this weekend.

Friday, Jan. 22

7 a.m. — Garage opens

9-9:45 a.m. — Prototype Challenge practice

10-11:15 a.m. — Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (all classes)

2-2:30 p.m. — Prototype Challenge practice

2:45-4:15 p.m. — Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

4:15-5:30 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (4:15-4:45, GTD silver/bronze; LMP3, LMP2 bronze; 4:45-5:15, all GTD, LMP2, LMP3; 4:30-5:30, GTLM/DPi)

8 p.m. — Garage closes

Saturday, Jan. 23

7 a.m. — Garage opens

8:45-9 a.m. — Prototype Challenge qualifying

9:15-10:15 a.m. — Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

10:30-11:30 a.m. — Rolex 24 practice (all classes)

12:50-2:35 p.m. — IMSA Prototype Challenge at Daytona race

3-4:05 p.m.  — Qualifying for Motul Pole Award 100 (3-3:15, GTD, 3:25-3:40, LMP3; 3:50-4:05, DPi)

4:25-5:20 p.m. — Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

7-9 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (all classes)

10 p.m. — Garage closes

Sunday, Jan. 24

7 a.m. — Garage opens

10-10:20 a.m. — Motul 100 warmup (all classes)

10:35-11:50 a.m. — MIchelin Pilot Challenge practice

2:05-3:45 p.m. — Motul 100 Pole Award qualifying race for the Rolex 24 at Daytona (100 minutes); tape-delayed coverage: 4:30 p.m., NBCSN

7 p.m. — Garage closes

Monday, Jan. 25-Tuesday, Jan. 26

8 a.m.-5 p.m. — Garages open

Wednesday, Jan. 27

6 a.m. — Garages open

1:45-2:45 p.m. — Michelin Challenge practice

3-3:30 p.m. — MX-5 practice

6:45 p.m. — Garages close

Thursday Jan. 28

7 a.m. — Garages open

9-9:30 a.m. — MX-5 practice

9:45-10:45 a.m. — Michelin Challenge practice

11:05 a.m.-12:05 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (all classes)

12:25-12:55 p.m. — MX-5 qualifying

2:25-3 p.m. — Michelin Challenge qualifying

3:20-4:35 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (3:20-3:50, GTD silver/bronze; LMP3, LMP2 bronze; 3:35-4:35, GTLM, DPI; 3:50-4:20, all drivers)

5-5:45 p.m. — MX-5, Race #1

7:15-9 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (all classes)

Friday, Jan. 29

7 a.m. — Garages open

9:25-9:55 a.m. — Michelin Challenge practice

10:15-11 a.m. — MX-5 Race #2

11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m. — Rolex 24 practice (all classes)

1:35-5:35 p.m. — BMW Endurance Challenge

Saturday, Jan. 30

8:30 a.m. — Garages open

1:50-2:45 p.m. — Grid cars in reverse order: GTD/GTLM-LMP3/LMP2/DPi

3:40 p.m. — Rolex 24 at Daytona green flag

Sunday, Jan. 31

3:40 p.m. — Rolex 24 at Daytona checkered flag

7:30 p.m. — Garages close

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.