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With the NASCAR Cup Series returning to revitalized North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time since 1996, most prognosticators are flying blind.
After all, no drivers who competed in the final Cup points race there, won by Jeff Gordon, are still active in the sport. Hence, no one has valid notes on the track with the current Cup car.
There are always clues, however, and one significant aspect of Sunday’s 200-lap exhibition race is the constant desire of Joey Logano to accomplish “firsts” in the sport.
When NASCAR introduced the Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 2022, Logano was the inaugural winner. And when the Cup Series visited Gateway Speedway for the first time a year ago, Logano took the checkered flag.
You get the idea. Though Logano isn’t our pick to win this week, we know he’ll be trying during the exhibition All-Star Race. For Ford aficionados, he’s not a bad bet at +900 via DraftKings Sportsbook.
If you’re looking for a long-shot pick for the NASCAR All-Star Race, we suggest Daniel Suarez at +3500 via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Oddsmakers must have been dozing late Wednesday night when Suarez rallied to finish fifth in the ASA Stars National Tour Super Late Model Race at North Wilkesboro.
Suarez did double duty that night. Before the ASA feature, he ran 15th in the Cars Tour Late Model Stick Car race at the .625-mile track.
At a track where no current Cup driver had raced before, you can’t underestimate the value of seat time. Suarez has a leg up in that respect, and while we don’t think he’ll win on Sunday night, we like him to finish in the top three at +1000 (DraftKings).
Having just triumphed at historic Darlington last Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron is the only three-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series so far this season.
Though Sunday night’s All-Star Race won’t count in the standings, Byron has another chance to make history in the series return to North Wilkesboro.
Toward that end, Byron competed in the ASA Stars National Tour Super Late Model race on Wednesday, finishing second to Bubba Pollard, one of the foremost Super Late Model drivers in the nation.
In addition, Byron is entered in Saturday’s CRAFTSMAN Truck Series event at the .625-mile short track, so he’ll have plenty of seat time by Sunday—and no Pollard to contend with in the Cup car.
Hence, we like Byron to win the All-Star Race at the favorable price of +1000 via DraftKings Sportsbook. And we favor Byron’s teammate, Chase Elliott (who ran third in the ASA event), to beat Ross Chastain head-to-head at +100 (DraftKings).
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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