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NASCAR All-Star Race Predictions: Defending Champ Has Too Much on His Mind

Written by: Reid Spencer
Updated May 17, 2024
10 min read
  • Will Kyle Larson’s mind really be on the task at hand at North Wilkesboro?

  • Denny Hamlin has a flair for winning non-points events on short tracks.

  • William Byron has his eyes on the $1-million prize that goes to the winner.

NASCAR All-Star Race Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook. Click odds in the table below and claim $200 in bonus bets when wagering at least $5 at DraftKings.

Driver Odds
Denny Hamlin +550
William Byron +600
Christopher Bell +750
Kyle Larson +850
Ryan Blaney +900
Joey Logano +900
Martin Truex Jr. +1000
Chase Elliott +1000
Tyler Reddick +1200
Chris Buescher +1400
Brad Keselowski +1400

My Pick for the NASCAR All-Star Race

NASCAR All Star Race 2024 Predictions

NASCAR All-Star Race Predictions

You Can Ignore Kyle Larson at North Wilkesboro This Weekend

In last year’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway—the first visit of the event to the legendary short track—Kyle Larson won in a runaway, leading 145 of 200 laps and beating Bubba Wallace to the finish line by 4.537 seconds.

All told, Larson has three All-Star Race victories. No other active NASCAR Cup Series driver has more than one.

But don’t count on Larson to go back-to-back at North Wilkesboro this weekend. He’ll be too preoccupied with qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, preparing for the same-day double with the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26.

In fact, Larson won’t be available for practice and qualifying for the All-Star Race. He’ll rely on former-Cup-champion-turned-broadcaster Kevin Harvick to fill in while he tries to make the field at Indy.

Assuming the weather cooperates and Larson makes it back from Indy in time for the All-Star Race on Sunday, he’ll have to deal with a repaved track and two types of Goodyear tires available for the race.

Winning is too much to ask. That’s why Larson is posted at +850 via DraftKings Sportsbook and not at shorter odds. Under the circumstances, we’re inclined to avoid him at any price.  

Denny Hamlin Has a Knack for Winning Exhibition Races

In his 2006 rookie season Denny Hamlin won the Busch Light Clash at Daytona International Speedway.

That was a harbinger of things to come. Under various formats, Hamlin has won the Clash four times, including the preseason event this year at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

In 2015, the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won the NASCAR All-Star Race. The event’s move to North Wilkesboro suits Hamlin admirably, given that short tracks are his milieu.

In addition, Hamlin relishes the choice of tires available on Sunday—a faster “option” tire and a more durable “prime” tire.

“I’m looking forward to the different tire options this week,” Hamlin said. “If it turns into a tire conservation race, I definitely like my chances. For it being at North Wilkesboro – a short track – not far from home, it’s going to be pretty exciting, I can’t wait to get there.”

Hamlin is the betting favorite at +550 via DraftKings, and we can’t deny he’s an excellent choice. But there’s one driver we like better.

William Byron Has an Edge for Sunday’s Race at North Wilkesboro

With Kyle Larson commuting from Indy, we think William Byron (+600 DraftKings DraftKings) has the best chance to find Victory Lane on Sunday.

Byron has won three of the first 13 points races this season, tied with Denny Hamlin for most in the series.

In addition, Byron represented Chevrolet drivers in a Goodyear tire test at North Wilkesboro, so he and crew chief Rudy Fugle already have experience on the new asphalt there.

Byron is motivated, too.

“It’s a chance to win a million dollars,” Byron said. “It’s a stat that people talk about even after your career is over. It’s how many championships do you have, how many Daytona 500 wins and how many All-Star wins? It matters.”

Byron picked up his first Daytona 500 victory in February. We think he’ll add an All-Star trophy—and a million dollars—to his resume on Sunday.

Bet on William Byron (+600) at DraftKings CTA icon

How to Watch the NASCAR All-Star Race

  • What: NASCAR All-Star Race (Cup Series)

  • Where: North Wilkesboro Speedway

  • When: Sunday, May 19, 8 p.m. ET

  • How to Watch: FS1


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Reid Spencer

222 Articles

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]

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