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Halfway through the regular season after 13 races, the NASCAR Cup Series gets a break from points competition with Sunday’s exhibition NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. There are no championship points on the line, but the winner gets a $1-million top prize.
The All-Star Race is divided into four stages, three consisting of 25 laps each and the final stage featuring 50 laps. The winners of Stages 1, 2, and 3 get the respective top three starting positions for the final stage. The fourth starting spot goes to the team that wins the pit crew competition between the second and third stages.
Reigning series champion Kyle Larson is the defending winner of the event.
Under changing formats and at different venues, Kyle Larson has won his last two starts in the NASCAR All-Star Race.
In 2019, Larson won the exhibition event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Last year he took the checkered flag at Texas. (Larson was under suspension in 2020 and did not compete in the All-Star Race that year.)
In Sunday night’s race, the reigning Cup champion will start fourth after stalling his No. 5 Chevrolet during qualifying under a quirky format that included a pit stop and a drag race off pit road.
We know that Larson has a fast car, and his All-Star win was not his only victory at Texas last season. He triumphed in the fall Playoff race at the 1.5-mile track on the way to the series title.
It’s hard to bet against Larson in this race, and we won’t buck the trend. He’s our pick to win at +600 via DraftKings Sportsbook—generous odds given that he’s racing in a short field of 24 cars.
Thanks to his pit crew and his own talent for getting into his pit stall more quickly than other drivers, Kyle Busch won the top starting spot for Sunday’s All-Star Race.
Busch is a former winner of the event, having taken the checkered flag at Charlotte in 2017. In 31 points-paying races at Texas, he has recorded four victories, 14 top fives and 18 top 10s.
Despite these impeccable credentials, we don’t think Busch will win the All-Star race for a second time. Though the Toyotas have made significant gains in recent weeks, we still give a performance edge to the Chevrolets.
That said, we’re relatively confident Busch will finish in the top three (+150 via DraftKings). He’s all but certain to start the final stage within the top four, either by winning one of the first three stages or by his crew winning the pit crew competition.
It’s not a bet that pays much, but it’s solid.
There are 20 drivers already qualified for the NASCAR All-Star Race. Three more will be added from the NASCAR All-Star Open, which precedes the main event.
The winners of the first two stages of the Open and the winner of the event will make the All-Star Race field, along with the winner of the NASCAR Fan Vote.
We like Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to advance to the main event by winning stages in the Open. Oddsmakers are so confident Reddick will make the show that his price for winning the All-Star Race is a stingy +1400—for a driver who doesn’t have a guaranteed starting spot.
Reddick won the pole for the Open, and you can bet on him to qualify for the All-Star Race in a Yes/No proposition at -300 via DraftKings. The same bet on Suarez is priced at -250. Stenhouse is a somewhat riskier proposition at +100, but he has a fast Chevrolet this week.
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|NASCAR All-Star Race Information|
|Race||NASCAR All-Star Race (Cup Series)|
|Location||Texas Motor Speedway|
|Time||Sunday, May 22, 8 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
Clash at the Coliseum: Kyle Busch Embarks on his Vindication Tour
NASCAR | 3 February - 02:42 | Reid Spencer
Drivers | 2 February - 03:39 | Reid Spencer
Drivers | 2 February - 03:19 | Reid Spencer
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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