On Monday I was fairly confident I wasn’t going to bet on this race at all. It’s been 26 years since the Cup Series ran at North Wilkesboro so we don’t have good data to project this race. After practice and the heat races we are starting to have some useful data though. With that in mind I’ve made a number of bets on tonight’s All Star Race. I’m still staying on the smaller size for this race given the lack of data but I do think these bets present some value.
North Wilkesboro is a .625 mile oval. The track is unique among non-road courses in that turns 1 and 2 are about 14 feet below turns 3 and 4. Despite this elevation change, the track is a “flat track.” The banking in the turns is just 13 degrees. Banking in straightaways is even less at a mere 3 degrees. Passing at short flat tracks has been very challenging in 2023 and nothing in the heat races suggests that North Wilkesboro will be an exception to this. In addition, last night we saw that being shuffled to the outside lane once traffic got moving was a death sentence. With this all in mind let’s get to the picks.
Daniel Suarez to Win +1800 | BetFred
Suarez made the only green flag pass for the lead last night. After a bad start allowed Chase Elliott to take the lead on lap one, Suarez slowly chipped away at Elliott’s lead until he used the bumper to move Elliott and retake the lead on lap 26. By winning his heat Suarez earned the pole position for tonight’s race. Given how hard passing was that pole position may be critical. Starting on the pole certainly gives him more than a 5.26% chance to win the race given the speed he has shown this weekend. I’m ok betting this down to +1400 which is available at DraftKings. I have .25u on this bet at +1800.
Chris Buescher to Win +1600 | BetFred
Buescher won heat 2 by leading all 60 laps. He showed he could lead on both wet and slick tires. Buescher dropped the field both on the initial start using wet tires and the restart about 1/2 way though the heat when NASCAR forced teams to swap slicks for wet weather tires. With his win he will start on the front row outside of Suarez.
As I noted above, the outside didn’t work for most of the race. The one time the outside did work though was on the very first restart when Chase Elliott got a great jump to take the lead from Suarez. This means that Buescher starting on the front row is the one driver on the outside who I think may have a real shot. As will Suarez the best value is at BetFred, but I’m ok with this down to +1400 at DraftKings. I have .25u on this bet at +1600.
Joey Logano to Win +1600 | DraftKings and Head to Head over Kevin Harvick -114 | Barstrool and BetRivers
Even behind the leader passing was hard last night. Lognao was the one driver who seemed to be able to consistently pass. With his second place finish in heat 1 Logano earned the right to line up 3rd, in the second row immediately behind leader Daniel Suarez. Given how much better the inside row was than the outside this might actually be a better spot than the front row on the outside. Logano also always seems to find a way to excel at new tracks. Given his starting position and demonstrated ability to pass I’m glad to grab Logano at +1600 and have .25u on him at that price.
I also have 1.14u on Logano to finish ahead of Kevin Harvick at -114. Harvick is starting five rows behind Logano and simply didn’t look great yesterday. Given the importance of track position, the gap between Logano and Harvick alone would have me interested in this matchup. Add in Logano’s ability to pass and Harvick’s lackluster performance and I love this bet. I would bet this down to -125.