This weekend's NASCAR All-Star Race won't pay any points to the NASCAR Cup Series odds contenders, but it can still pay out those who place a savvy bet or two.
This May 21 showcase sees the Cup Series return to North Wilkesboro after a long absence for some old-school, short-track action under the Sunday night lights.
With a relatively unknown track lurking, how will the sport's best drivers react? We break down the field with our NASCAR All-Star Race odds, and serve up our best betting picks!
Odds to win 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race
|Driver||Odds to win|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1,000|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+6,500|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 16, 2023.
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NASCAR All-Star Race field
Recent track results for the field are tough to come by, seeing as most of these drivers were in elementary school the last time North Wilkesboro hosted a NASCAR race — in 1996.
With the track a big variable for the All-Star Race, books are playing it safe and sticking perennial favorite Kyle Larson — who has wins on like tracks at Martinsville and Richmond this year — atop the odds board. Larson will be hungry this weekend after he was involved late wreck with Ross Chastain at Darlington.
Trailing Larson is Kevin Harvick (+750), who finished second and first in Richmond races last year, coming off a second-place run last weekend as well.
Also found below the four-digit threshold are Joey Logano and Christopher Bell (both +900). Logano has run 2-6-2 in his last three Martinsville races, while Bell, who's been a Top-10 magnet so far this season, won at Bristol (albeit on dirt), and came fourth at Richmond.
Overall, we're looking at a shorter field for the All-Star Race, with just 21 drivers on the board. As expected with less potential variance, we're seeing shorter and more linear odds, with the biggest longshots priced at just +6,500, when typical fields of 40 would yield prices in the +10,000 and up range for the lower tier.
NASCAR All-Star Race picks and predictions
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NASCAR All-Star Race favorites
Kyle Larson (+650)
He just won Richmond, but he also has been good on short tracks in general this year. Larson dominated Phoenix (fourth) and also won at Martinsville. Hendrick Motorsports is the best team at Wilkesboro and has won two of the last three All-Star Races, both being the inaugural All-Star run at those tracks. Chase Elliott won in 2020 at Bristol, and Larson in 2021 at Texas.
Kevin Harvick (+750)
Worth a look this week. He was runner-up last spring in Richmond, and won last summer. He was fifth this year for his ninth Top-8 result in his last 10 Richmond tries. On top of that, he had the race won at Phoenix back in March for his 20th consecutive Top-10 finish there, and that track is the most similar to Richmond.
Christopher Bell (+900)
At Richmond, Bell was fourth and third, respectively, in 2021, sixth in the spring race last year after leading 63 laps, and runner-up in the summer race. He crashed in the final laps while running in the Top 4 this spring. Bell also qualified in the Top 5 at Phoenix and was sixth in the end too.
NASCAR All-Star Race sleepers
Martin Truex Jr. (+1,000)
If not for the late-race caution, he had Richmond won this past spring. It was going to be his ninth Top-5 finish in his last 10 Richmond tries, including five Top-2s in his last eight. Unfortunately, the caution and tire strategy worked against him. He won the Clash in a football stadium back in February, so why not an All-Star race in May?
William Byron (+1,000)
He looked good in Phoenix (win), had a Top-2 car in Richmond, and is driving the car that won the last time out in North Wilkesboro (No. 24 Chevrolet).
Denny Hamlin (+1,100)
Pit road kept Hamlin from being a factor in Richmond. Prior to that though, he was runner-up in both races in 2021 including leading 207 laps in the spring, and 197 more circuits that fall. Hamlin then won last year’s spring race there and was fourth in the summer to tally 11 Top-6 finishes in his last 14 Richmond starts.
NASCAR All-Star Race fades
Joey Logano (+900)
He has struggled at Richmond (17th, sixth, seventh last three), plus a defending Cup Series champion won the All-Star race the next year on just four occasions, none since 2013.
Chase Elliott (+1,400)
He didn’t run Richmond this year due to his injury, but Elliott isn’t usually at his best on high tire-wear tracks. Three of his last four Homestead finishes have been 14th or worse, and he’s 0-for-7 there. Four of his last seven Richmond finishes have been 12th or worse, and he’s 0-for-14 there. He had one Top-5 in seven Atlanta starts before their repave. While he was runner-up in Fontana, three of his previous four finishes there were 11th or worse, at 0-for-7 on that track. Darlington, he’s 0-for-12 with four of his last six finishes being 20th or worse.
Ryan Blaney (+1,800)
Richmond is not one of his better tracks. He was 26th this year and has never had a Top-5 there in 14 tries. Plus, only twice has someone won back-to-back All-Star races (Davey Allison 1991-1992 and Jimmie Johnson 2012-2013).
NASCAR All-Star Race prop pick
Ross Chastain (-120) vs. Chase Elliott (+100)
Elliott struggles on these types of tracks while Chastain thrives. Also, Chastain is the points leader for a reason, and for these odds, I like him in this matchup.
Pick: Chastain (-120 at DraftKings)
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North Wilkesboro Speedway track analysis
NASCAR’s premiere series has raced at North Wilkesboro 93 times. However, they’ve not visited the North Carolina short track in over 25 years either. The last race was held in 1996. None of the drivers in this field have ran a NASCAR Cup Series car around this .625-mile track.
So, there’s really no track analysis to use since it’s essentially an inaugural event for these drivers. No trends — nothing in the past will translate over to now.
However, the best place you can look to compare past stats off of has to be Richmond. Both similar in length (.75 Richmond, .625-mile North Wilkesboro). Both are older surfaces and wear tires quickly.
This track surface this weekend is the same one that was used in 1996. With the few tests that have been done, it was unanimous that this race will be a tire strategy event and who can go the longest without losing much pace.
Which makes this like Richmond.
The faster you go early, the slower you go in the end. If you go slow early, and if you maintain that pace, as weird as this sounds, you’ll be much faster later.
Plus, with the format using strategy, tires are key.
The only scheduled caution is on Lap 100. All teams will start on new tires and have three sets to use for the race. However, after the competition break around Lap 100, only one set of new tires can be used.
Example: if you pit for new tires on Lap 100, you get one more set to use the final 100 laps. If there’s a caution on Lap 160, most are going to pit for new tires. However, if someone doesn’t and elects to stay on the older tires to risk another caution and one happens, then they’re in the catbird's seat by having that fresh set.
That’s how crucial tires are.
NASCAR All-Star Race trends
- If this is like Richmond, it may not allow for smaller teams to prevail. Just look at the recent winners in Richmond: Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing have won each of the last 10 there, and 14 of the last 15 overall.
- Two of the last three series champions ended up winning the All-Star race the year they won the title. Chase Elliott won the 2020 All-Star race at Bristol and later won his first championship. A year later, Kyle Larson did the same thing, this time the race was held at Texas. In fact, that’s actually happened nine times overall. Darrell Waltrip (1985), Rusty Wallace (1989), Dale Earnhardt (1990, 1993), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997) and Jimmie Johnson (2006) are the others.