Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson are soon set to appear in the renowned Rolex 24 at Daytona event. Although their team lineups are different, the intention and approach towards the race remain the same.
Both drivers will be racing for cars employed by the same team, Action Express Racing. The team manager, Gary Nelson, who is also a championship-winning Crew Chief in NASCAR, outlined his advice for both the superstars ahead of experiencing the event for themselves.
Nelson stated, “I’m telling both Chase and Jimmie that imagine you’re on the track racing with all your Cup Series drivers and all of the Xfinity drivers and all of the Truck series drivers and all of the K&N Series drivers – all at the same time.”
“There’s going to be a huge difference in speed and closure rate and talent among the different drivers.”
Considering the very nature of the race sees four drivers share racing responsibilities over 24 hours, the mentality and planning on-track needs to be quite solid. However, Nelson believes that Elliott and Johnson will have to thoroughly consider their decisions.
“If I lose a couple of seconds waiting to get on a straightaway to pass this particular driver because I’m not sure if he’s going to leave me room, that decision helps you win the race here.
“If you rush it, like you would if you’re running a 500-mile race, you could find yourself with damage that costs you the race. Patience has got to be key to get through this,” he concluded.
The auto racing manager has been at the helm of affairs and helped win four IMSA SportsCar Prototype championships. At both of Action Express Racing’s teams, he has some genuinely talented drivers with unique racing styles.
This will be Elliott’s first entry in the event, and he would look to gain a sense of experience more than anything else. Meanwhile, Johnson, with an all-star lineup of experienced Rolex 24 professionals, will be looking to lift the trophy on his eighth attempt.
Regardless, both drivers will have to make some key decisions whilst they are on the field racing in the endurance competition event. At the end of the day, it is all about using teamwork to make the dream work in one of the most popular racing spectacles.