[Hendrick Motorsports Press Release]
The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion is keeping busy during the off-season.
Chase Elliott finished third in the annual Snowball Derby event on Dec. 6 and recently announced he’ll compete in the 2021 Chili Bowl for the first time beginning on Jan. 11 at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Now, he adds his name to Action Express Racing’s roster for the annual Rolex 24 at DAYTONA.
The Dawsonville, Georgia, native will join Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Mike Conway in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R to run the 3.56-mile road course during a prestigious 24-hour race.
“The Rolex 24 is such a major event, and it’s a race that anybody across any type of motor sports really respects,” Elliott said. “I think everyone wants to win a watch before their career is over. It’s something different and a completely different element of racing that I haven’t really tried before. I’m trying to branch out and be more diverse as a driver and this is another part of that experience. I appreciate Action Express giving me this opportunity, and I am looking forward to learning and running my first Rolex 24 next month.”
Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing’s team manager, said the team has been impressed with the defending NASCAR champion.
“Recently we were able to spend a day with Chase in the simulator, running the Dallara, Cadillac model on the Daytona road course,” Nelson said. “We were amazed at how quick Chase got up to speed, his feedback, and how easy he was to work with. We are very excited to work with him again next month in Daytona at the Roar and the Rolex 24.”
Despite this being Elliott’s first time running the twice-around-the-clock classic, he’s no stranger to road-course racing. The 25-year-old driver has already won five career NASCAR Cup Series road course races for Hendrick Motorsports, including Watkins Glen International in 2018 and 2019, the Charlotte ROVAL in 2019 and 2020 and the DAYTONA Road Course in 2020.
Elliott and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will help kick off the 2021 IMSA season with the traditional Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 22-24 with the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA taking place the following weekend, Jan. 29-31.
Johnson will hit the track with his signature No. 48 for the Rolex 24 race this January at Daytona International Speedway.
The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will start for the eighth time at the 24-hour event. In conjunction with Action Express Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson will rev his engine in a No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“We’ve been talking to Jimmie about running with us for many months,” said Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing’s team manager. “It all came together in November with the support of Hendrick Motorsports and their tremendous partner, Ally. Jimmie has a lot of experience at Daytona, not only on the oval, but turning into the infield, as well.”
The last time Johnson raced in the Rolex 24 was in 2011 when he and his team placed 15th. He will help field a crew consisting of drivers Simon Pagenaud, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller.
“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the marquee races in the world,” Johnson said. “It’s such a challenging event for both team and driver and requires a high level of concentration throughout. It’s a fun and unique race to compete in. This will be the first time I’ve raced with Action Express and have been very impressed with the team and its preparation.
“I’m also excited to have Ally on board and to be co-driving with Simon, Kamui and Mike, who are three world-class drivers with experience in this race and the DPi Class. I’ve finished second in this event, so I’m looking forward to trying to get on the top step in 2021.”
The Rolex 24 is a 24-hour race that has teams of drivers from across the racing world compete in a 3.56-mile combined road course. The drivers all will get a chance to hit the track on Dec. 8 and 9 to get practice laps in before they gear up for the event in the final weekend of January.
“We can’t wait to see Jimmie and his teammates run the Daytona road course in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R,” said Andrea Brimmer, the chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally. “We are happy to continue supporting him as he tries to conquer another legendary race at this legendary track.”
The 59th running of the Rolex 24 is set for January 30-31 at Daytona International Speedway.