PROTOTYPE CLASS: EXPRESS DELIVERY
Six different teams went to Victory Lane in the
inaugural TUDOR Championship – four running
Daytona Prototypes and two with P2 cars.
PATRON NORTH AMERICAN
The 2014 NAEC included the Rolex 24 at
Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of
Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans. Points are
awarded at specific intervals during each race.
Chevrolet powered the Action Express Racing,
Wayne Taylor Racing and Spirit of Daytona
Racing teams, adding up to six Prototype class
wins during the season. Ford’s three victories
all came with Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing.
Wholesale upgrades were allowed for
DPs in 2014, but AXR wasn’t dazzled by all
of the tricks on the performance menu.
“Elton came up with a saying, ‘managing
distractions,’” Nelson reveals. “In the
offseason we were getting bulletins from
the series about all the updates we could
do. So we listed them and asked which
ones were distractions, which would make
us faster, or what would be more reliable.
“Carbon brakes? We thought they’d
make us go faster, so we did that.Paddle-
shift? We said it may make us go faster, but
it sure will cause distractions trying to get it
to work. So we skipped it and used a gear
lever all season. We lined up everything we
could do, kept the winners, left the others,
and it was our most reliable season ever.”
Nelson monitored AXR’s consistency
on a round-by-round basis and knew they
were on the right path. With three wins,
including the prestigious, season-opening
Rolex 24 at Daytona, and an average
finishing position of 2.82 across all 11
rounds, running the ball up the middle and
managing distractions paid huge dividends.
“I kept a whiteboard in my office the last
several years and I would draw the graph
of our finishing position at each event, and
I’d overlay it with a different color for what
the other teams were doing” he says.
“We’d had a couple of big wins before, but
our lows were pretty low and the guys who
were beating us were able to win in the
overall points – their lows weren’t as low.
“We made a conscious effort to
emulate the systems that were beating
us. As this season progressed, our graph
looked like a heartbeat monitor from a
hospital – nice and steady – and the other
teams were the ones all over the place.”
And the few times when things went
wrong, AXR relied on another contingency
that fits Nelson’s “Planning to Plan” theme.
“We came up with something we called
‘disaster times two,’ and that’s being ready
for two disasters – two complete sets of
spares ready for the car,” says Nelson.
“Everybody has one set and can survive
one disaster, but what about a second? It
brought our lows up and meant that we
finished every race on the lead lap.”
If “disaster times two” was the third pillar
in AXR’s TUDOR Championship script,
43 39 35 32 366 349 325 300 269
With Sebastien Bourdais for the Rolex 24 at Daytona
With Marino Franchitti for the 12 Hours of Sebring
With Max Angelelli for Petit Le Mans
Sharing with Barbosa/Fittipaldi for
three of four NAEC events
Points are awarded at every race based on the
highest-finishing car powered by each manufacturer
40 Formula 1
and 135 Champ
Car starts to his
name, with two
wins in the latter.
He raced with
and Barbosa at
the 2011 and
’ 12 Rolex 24,
then joined full
time in ’ 13,
taking two Grand-
Am DP victories.
sports cars, the
roots were in
1996 Italian F3.
he joined Action
Express in 2010,
taking the first
of his two Rolex
“We held true to what we
know. In football terms, we
just take the ball and run
up the middle”