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Chase Elliott, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Team, 22 Laps off Pace After Mechanical Issues

The Action Express Racing No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi at Daytona International Speedway in 2021. Worldwide Copyright ©2021 Daylon Barr Photography.

Mechanical failure has seemingly ended Action Express Racing’s chance at the 2021 Rolex 24 victory. The No. 31 team, which features Chase Elliott, Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway and Luis Felipe Derani as their drivers, was sitting third overall with under six hours remaining in the event.

While Nasr was working his way around the track the transmission got stuck in gear and would not change. The car had been making funky noises for hours. Turns out the exhaust manifold had issues, which caused everything else to go awry.

“There were two different things and I don’t think they were connected,” Nasr said. “We had an ex off the chute, that’s why the engine was sounding a little weird, but we kept going. The car had pace. But unfortunately, when I was leaving turn six on the transition to the banking up third to fourth is when I lost the drive. There was a pretty loud bang on the gear box, so that was fourth gear done.”

The No. 31 car has returned to the track, but it took 22 laps for the repairs. Chase Elliott is back behind the wheel now, and the team has slipped to 10th-overall in the running order. Unless a rash of mechanical failures sweep through the top-nine, it appears that the No. 31 team’s bid at a Rolex 24 victory is over for 2021.

Currently, the No. 10 Acura DPi, currently driven by Filipe Albuquerque, is the overall race leader. While the No. 60 Acura DPi, driven currently by AJ Allmendinger, sits second. Scott Dixon is third in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 01 Cadillac DPi and Mike Rockenfeller has the No. 48 Ally Racing Cadillac DPi in fourth overall.

The No. 51 Rick Ware Racing LMP2 entry, which has Cody Ware and Austin Dillon on their driver roster, has moved up to fourth in the LMP2 running order. The No. 51 sits six laps off the pace of the class leader.

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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