Change is in the air back at the race shop of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Prototype champions.
With the announcement that the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP would be joining the Action Express Racing stable for the 2015 season, personnel moves have been made as a result.
Action Express Racing Team Manager Gary Nelson has announced the hiring of Chris Mitchum as the Director of Race Team Operations for Action Express Racing. Nelson also announced the promotion of veteran mechanic Chad Gordon to Crew Chief of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette.
Who is Chris Mitchum?
Mitchum, a native of Virginia Beach, VA, is no stranger to Action Express Racing; his IMSA Continental Tire Series team frequently utilized the Action Express pits and crewmembers during their events. Mitchum's experience in racing gives Team Manager Gary Nelson confidence in Action Express Racing being able to contend for the championships again in 2015.
It was a time of reflection on how we got there. The men and women involved know the dedication it takes to get back to that point, and I'm confident that we will have two teams battling for those championships in 2015.
Team Principal Bob Johnson
"Chris is a great guy," said Nelson. "He has the competitive spirit and drive that it takes to succeed in racing and he is going to help raise the bar around our race team, higher than it already is. Having worked with Chris and his team in the past, our team members are familiar with him and excited about what he will bring to Action Express Racing next year."
Mitchum brings over 20 years of racing experience to Action Express Racing. Growing up in a racing family, Mitchum has served as a crew chief, driver, team manager and team owner. Mitchum's success as a team owner reached its culmination last season in the IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series by winning the Team and Amateur Driver Championships with Mitchum Motorsports.
Chad Gordon assigned as No. 31 crew chief
Nelson addressed the promotion of Chad Gordon to Crew Chief of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry with the same confidence and enthusiasm as the hiring of Mitchum.
"Chad has been a tremendous asset to Action Express Racing since he arrived," said Nelson. "Chad's passion and dedication are exemplified through his daily work routines, and he embodies everything that we believe at Action Express. Chad is going to be a great leader for the No. 31 team this season, and we expect to see them battling with the No. 5 for the win in the Rolex 24."
Chad Gordon is a native of Berlin, VT and a 2009 graduate of the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC. Gordon has been a mechanic for Action Express Racing since December of 2009.
"We have hired many apprentice mechanics from NTI over the years with great success," said Nelson. "Now, using Chad as an example, we are able to show everyone how NTI is able to prepare race mechanics for a bright future in professional motorsports. Action Express continues to work closely with NTI as a tremendous resource for young talent."
Keith Johnson retires
Gordon's promotion comes as Action Express Racing veteran crew chief Keith Johnson announces his retirement from racing. Johnson was the longest tenured member of the Action Express Racing team, having started with Brumos Racing thirteen years ago.-
Johnson will turn his career focus towards his new indoor rock climbing gym that he and his brother Kris are opening in the Charlotte area in the near future.
"It's a bitter sweet time in my life," said Johnson. "I've enjoyed my time in racing, and it's been a dream come true to be a part of the evolution of the Daytona Prototype class and the building of Action Express. Now I get to go try and conquer another dream with my family and my brother Kris. We've planned on opening an indoor rock climbing gym for years and I can't wait to see what something that started as a dream, turn into a reality. I will also continue to follow Action Express Racing and will be cheering for their continued success."
Team Principal Bob Johnson on personnel changes
"Action Express Racing had a phenomenal year in 2014," said Johnson. "We started the season off by winning and finishing third in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and carried that momentum throughout the season. It's difficult to pick a moment to be most proud of, finishing every lap of every race, all 1777 of them, winning all four championships, and three major events should instill a great deal of pride in everyone involved with Action Express.
"While we all celebrated what we had accomplished at the Banquet in New York City, it was a time of reflection on how we got there. The men and women involved know the dedication it takes to get back to that point, and I'm confident that we will have two teams battling for those championships in 2015."
Action Express Racing