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NASCAR All-Star Race Preview

NASCAR All-Star Race Preview 3 days 17 hours ago #506052

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Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Friday 5/17/19
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NASCAR All-Star Race Preview 3 days 17 hours ago #506053

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By Micah Roberts

With $1 million up for grabs in Saturday night's 35th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race and no points at stake, drivers will do almost anything to win. Take the 2007 All-Star Race, for instance, it was Kyle Busch wrecking brother Kurt Busch for the chance at winning the big check and they didn't talk to each other the rest of the season.

Drivers get after a little more than the regular season and have no repercussions if they wreck themselves by making the daring move to pass.

“We have the chance to win a million dollars and it’s such a challenging race because the package is different and everyone is learning together,” Aric Almirola said. “The All-Star Race is such a cool event because we get to try new things and there’s no pressure on your point standings. But a million dollars is definitely incentive enough to race as hard as we can to bring it home.”

Last year's All-Star Race won by Kevin Harvick was a testing ground for the package we're seeing this season on the 1.5-mile tracks and Saturday night's race will also feature a new package with elements of the Gen-7 car expected to debut in 2021 added to the current package with engines producing 550 horsepower.

“I think change and attempts at improvement are always a good sign," said Almirola who is 20-to-1 to win Saturday. "That’s the fun thing about the All-Star Race, though. We get to go test out a package and the first person to figure it out has a better chance to win. Our No. 10 Smithfield Ford team has always been good at adapting under pressure, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

I've been told that the new package should run similar to what we saw at Kansas last week with the cooler night air producing better racing because of more grip. But still, no one really knows what to expect and how these cars will perform.

“I have not seen the car," Harvick said. "I have seen the drawings."

The odd part about Harvick winning last season after having five wins in the first 12 races is that he's yet to win a race this season while using almost the same package. Harvick is a two-time All-Star Race winner and is one four drivers posted as the 7-to-1 second choice to win by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Fifteen drivers have automatically qualified for All-Star Race based on winning a race in 2018 or 2019 or being a fulltime driver that has a past All-Star Race win like Ryan Newman (2002) or a past Cup champions such as Jimmie Johnson. In addition to Johnson's seven Cup titles, he's also the all-time leader in All-Star Race wins with four.

Three other drivers can be added to the All-Star Race by winning a segment in the preceding Monster Energy Open qualifying race (20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps). The last way to get in is by fan vote following the Open.
The All-Star Race is broken into four segments (30 laps / 20 laps / 20 laps / 15 laps) with laps under caution not counting in the final stage.

“You’ve got to go get it," said Austin Dillon who has 40/1 odds to win. "You are on the gas the entire time but there will be some strategy played I’m sure at the end. The real question is going to be how these cars drive. It’s a totally different package. It should be very interesting for our fans.”

Yes, I'm very interested just for the unknown factor, but it certainly makes things more difficult when betting which is why I'm cutting down my normal bankroll for a weekly race much in the same way I've done in restrictor-plate races.

I'm speculating that data from the races using the 550 horsepower at the four 1.5-mile tracks and Fontana's 2-mile layout will be good this week which means we have to start with Team Penske who have won three of those five races. Joey Logano (7/1), the winner of the 2016 All-Star Race, won at Las Vegas and was second at Fontana. Brad Keselowski (7/1) won at Atlanta and last week at Kansas and was runner-up at Las Vegas and third at Fontana. That's great stuff and Keselowski has never won the All-Star Race, so he's kind of due.

The other major player is Joe Gibbs Racing with Kyle Busch winning at Fontana and Denny Hamlin winning at Texas. Hamlin won the 2015 All-Star Race and Busch won the 2017 All-Star Race, and for both drivers, it was their first Cup win of any kind at Charlotte. Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 last fall for his first points-paying Cup win at Charlotte and he did it in dominant fashion starting from the pole, winning the first two sessions and leading 377 of the 400 laps.

But both had troubles last week at Kansas, as did teammate Martin Truex Jr. who has been the King of 1.5s the past four seasons, but Erik Jones finished third. Busch is the 5/1 favorite, Truex is 8/1, Hamlin is 12/1 and Jones is 20/1.

The most impressive thing I saw last week at Kansas was Stewart-Haas Racing stepping up after bringing brand new cars to the track. They qualified 1-2-3-4 and in the final practice session, three of them had the top-3 10-consecutive lap averages. Harvick led a race-high 104 laps and all four cars finished 14th or better. Clint Bowyer led 12 laps and finished fifth, his third top-five finish in four races on 1.5-mile tracks. None of them have won this season, but it feels like it's coming soon.

"A million bucks are on the line and that is an opportunity," said Bowyer who is 14/1 to win. "It isn’t every day you get a chance to race for a million dollars.”

Another team that is coming on strong is Hendrick Motorsports and organization that has won the All-State race and record eight times. Alex Bowman has been runner-up the past three races using three different race packages. He'll have to race his way into the All-Star Race by winning a segment in the Open, which I believe he will which is why the "Field Bet" in the All-Star Race has 7/1 odds. Newman (80/1) is the only driver to win the All-Star Race coming from the Open. Bowman could also join Michael Waltrip as a driver to win the All-Star Race with no career Cup wins.

Chase Elliott doesn't have to rely on the fan vote this season due to his four wins the past two seasons and he could join Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr. as a father-son tandem to both win All-Star Race. His daddy, Bill Elliott, won the second All-Star Race in 1987. Like Bowman, Elliott has been elite the past three races with top-fives in each, including a Talladega win. No reason to think he can't run strong again with a fourth straight week using a different race package. HMS is back!

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #9 Chase Elliott (7/1)
2) #4 Kevin Harvick (7/1)
3) #2 Brad Keselowski (7/1)
4) #22 Joey Logano (7/1)
5) #14 Clint Bowyer (14/1)
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NASCAR All-Star Race Preview 2 days 16 hours ago #506109

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Clint Bowyer joked about what he would do if he wins his first NASCAR All-Star race on Saturday night and its $1 million prize.


''A lot,'' Bowyer said with a big smile.

NASCAR's funnyman took a big step toward making that celebration a reality by edging out Kyle Busch to capture the pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night, leaving him jacked up.

''It is a million dollars and I don't care if you are Warren Buffett or the guy that is going to pick up the grandstands after tonight's race, a million dollars is a million dollars,'' Bowyer said. ''If you think it doesn't mean anything different to me than it does to you, you're crazy.''

The 39-year-old Bowyer's best finish in an All-Star race was a second-place finish in 2011.

Bowyer hasn't been the strongest at qualifying.

His last pole in a Cup Series points race came in 2007 - an ongoing string of 417 races.

But he got it done in this non-points race.

Bowyer completed three qualifying laps and one four-tire pit stop in 1 minute, 58.794 seconds to edge out Busch, who was seeking his fourth career All-Star pole.

''We put ourselves in a position to take their million bucks tomorrow night and that is all you can ask for,'' Bowyer said.

Defending champion Kevin Harvick qualified third in his pink No. 4 Ford, Austin Dillon fourth and Martin Truex Jr. fifth.

Bowyer said the qualifying format for the All-Star race makes him nervous, but said that isn't necessarily a bad thing. He was so proud of his pit crew that he brought them over to get in a picture after the race.

''My pit crew has been doing a jam up job all year long,'' Bowyer said. ''That is a victory for them.''

This year's All-Star race will feature a four-stage format - 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps followed by a 15-lap shootout.

THE OPEN: Rookie Daniel Hemric grabbed the pole for the Open race on Saturday. Three drivers will advance from the Open into the All-Star race. One other driver will receive the fan vote to round out the field of 19 drivers.

''Anytime you can do that at your home track it's very special,'' said Hemric, who grew up a few miles down the road in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

TOUGH TO REPEAT: Harvick won last year's All-Star race, but history suggests he will have a difficult time repeating in his No. 4 Ford. Since 1993, Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to repeat as champion.

NEED A WIN: There are several high-profile drivers looking for their first All-Star race win. Brad Keselowski hasn't won in 10 attempts, Bowyer is 0 for 9 and Truex Jr. is 0 for 7.

RULES PACKAGE: NASCAR will be experimenting with a single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan designed to create a more stable aero platform and a radiator duct through the hood to reduce engine temperatures in the racecars on Saturday night. The hope is to create better racing and find a usable setup package for when NASCAR rolls out its Gen 7 car in 2021.
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