This weekend, the 2011 motor racing season gets underway with 24 Hours of Daytona -- America's most challenging road race. There are a number of NASCAR drivers who will be sitting behind the wheel of exotic prototypes as they try out the road course at Daytona. We start with the six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, driving the No. 99 Chevrolet Riley. Jamie McMurray also will be driving a Chevy prototype. His partner will be IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti. Juan Pablo Montoya, who has won this race before, also will race a Chevy prototype.
Blue Oval Industries fans need not worry. A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 6 Dallara-Ford for Michael Shank Racing and he will have one of the fastest cars in the race. The driving team of Allmendinger, Michael McDowell and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson could be the team to beat.
Max Papis will be back, joining the defending champion Porsche team along with teammates Joao Barbosa and Terry Borcheller. This team, while not the fastest on the track, is the most consistent, and is a contender to repeat.
A guy who has proven that he was born for this type of racing is Boris Said. He has a very strong BMW M3. Said placed eighth last year. Alongside him again will be Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana.
Roush Racing's new star, Colin Braun, will pilot the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley. Braun's team is the largest in the race and includes former champ Ryan Dalziel, former IRL and Formula 1 driver Tomas Enge, and sports car specialist Mike Forest.
Kenny Wallace will get another turn at the wheel of the No. 4 Porsche GT3, a car that he did well in last year. Brendan Gaughan also will drive a Porsche in the GT3 category.
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!