Leading drivers from IndyCar and NASCAR have a great chance of making headway in the Castrol Rankings this weekend. But the odd thing is that there is no IndyCar or NASCAR Sprint Cup round for quite a while yet...
Instead, leading stars such as Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar) and Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya (NASCAR) will be contesting the opening round of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Johnson, who lies eighth in the Castrol Rankings, will team up in the Bob Stallings/GAINSCO Riley-Chevrolet with former Grand-Am champions Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, who hold 128th and 129th positions, respectively. Meanwhile, Franchitti (9), Dixon (18), McMurray (24) and Montoya (32) collaborate in an all-star lineup in one of Chip Ganassi Racing's Riley-BMWs.
But it is the other Ganassi car, which features dominant 2010 Grand-Am champions Scott Pruett (64) and Memo Rojas (65) in its lineup, which arguably starts as favorite for victory. Similarly, the SunTrust Dallara-Chevy that Briscoe (21) will drive is always strong, and he teams up with, among others, 103rd-place sharers Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor.
Last year's winners are dispersed, with Joao Barbosa (289) and racing reverend Terry Borcheller (334) remaining in the Action Express Riley-Porsche line-up, but Ryan Dalziel (158) is now driving a Starworks Riley-Ford. Scotsman Dalziel topped testing earlier this month, but could not maintain that form in qualifying: instead it is Jorg Bergmeister (287) who will start from pole in the Flying Lizard Riley-Porsche.
And if you're looking for a returning old stager to make a belated "new entry" to the Castrol Rankings, in the manner of Francois Delecour on the Monte Carlo Rally last week, we've got two for you this time around: British Formula 1/sports car veterans Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell are teaming up in a Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford. And, as 1988 Daytona victor Brundle could attest, anything can happen in a 24-hour race.
To see the full Castrol Rankings and the latest positions in the Race for 2011, visit www.castroldriverrankings.com.