Chase Elliott officially was announced Friday as making his debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona next month, driving for Action Express Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener for 2021.
The reigning champion of the NASCAR Cup Series will be teamed with Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Mike Conway in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 24-hour race Jan. 30-31.
Elliott, 25, already is a winner on the road course at Daytona International Speedway, having won the inaugural race for NASCAR’s premier series on the infield layout last Aug. 16. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has five Cup victories on road courses, including a streak of four consecutive dating to August 2019 at Watkins Glen International.
It’s the second NASCAR champion in the Rolex 24 for Action Express, which will have Jimmie Johnson in a second Cadillac with Simon Pagenaud, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller.
“The Rolex 24 is such a major event, and it’s a race that anybody across any type of motorsports really respects,” Elliott said in a release. “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.”
This off-season just keeps getting better! Very thankful this came together, and I can’t wait to get to work with these guys! https://t.co/U6pXkCch7e
— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) December 18, 2020
Since capturing his first Cup championship last month by winning the 2020 finale at Phoenix Raceway, Elliott hardly has slowed down.
He finished third Dec. 6 at the 53rd annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida. In his midget debut last weekend in preparation for next month’s Chili Bowl, Elliott finished in the top five of both feature races at Millbridge Speedway.
“I’m trying to branch out and be more diverse as a driver, and (the Rolex 24) is another part of that experience,” Elliott said. “I appreciate Action Express giving me this opportunity, and I am looking forward to learning and running my first Rolex 24 next month.”
Action Express team manager Gary Nelson said Elliott had been impressive during a recent test day on the Daytona road course in the GM simulator.
“We were amazed at how quick Chase got up to speed, his feedback, and how easy he was to work with,” Nelson said in a release. “We are very excited to work with him again next month in Daytona at the Roar and the Rolex 24.”
Elliott will join Action Express and the rest of IMSA’s teams at Daytona Jan. 22-24 for the Roar Before the 24 test session, which will conclude with a qualifying race that will set the lineup for the Rolex 24.