NASCAR Sprint Cup SeriesSaturday, May 17 – 9:00 p.m. EDT
30th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
Charlotte Motor Speedway – Concord, NC
NASCAR will run its 30th annual Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night, as 22 drivers tangle in a 90-lap sprint to the finish in Concord, NC. Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile, intermediate track completed in 1959 in a quad-oval shape. Every turn has the same 24° banking and straightaways are nearly flat with 5° banking. The frontstretch measures 1,980 feet (.375 miles) while the backstretch is just 1,500 feet (.284 miles).
The drivers will work for 135 miles to try to win $1 million in this race that is separated into five segments, four 20-lap parts and a final 10-lap finish to wrap up the event. One wrinkle put in last year is that drivers will be repositioned for the final 10-lap sprint based on their average finish for the first four segments, making each of the four 20-lap sections more valuable. Two-time defending All-Star champion Jimmie Johnson (4 wins) and Jeff Gordon (3 wins) have the most wins among active drivers at this event. Starting position is key for this short race, considering 21 of the 29 All-Star champions (72%) have started from one of the top-10 positions.
Odds to Win Race
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||10-to-1|
|FIELD (Any other driver)||30-to-1|
|Martin Truex Jr.||50-to-1|
Drivers to WatchKyle Busch (10/1) - Busch's value has doubled from last year when he was tabbed with 5-to-1 odds before leading for 29 laps and producing an excellent third-place showing. In the two All-Star races before that, Busch was the runner-up in 2011 and came in fourth place in 2012. This isn't a shock considering how well he's raced in Charlotte, with top-8's in 11 of his past 13 regular-season starts at this venue. The only two bad finishes were due to a 2011 crash and 2013 engine failure. Busch has also had an excellent 2014 season so far with an 11.1 average finish and lap leads in 8-of-11 starts to rise to his current third-place position in the standings. He's beyond due to finally win at this track, and therefore is our pick to win the All-Star race.
Carl Edwards (15/1) - The champion from the 2011 All-Star Race wasn't able to defend his title after his engine caught on fire in the second segment of the 2012 version of this race. In 2013 when he went off at 12-to-1 odds, he finished 10th, which was his fifth top-10 in his past seven All-Star starts. Edwards has raced very well this season with a 9.6 average finish in the 10 races he was able to complete, which is why he's currently fifth in the points standings. Edwards also placed in the top-11 in each of his past five starts in regular-season Charlotte races, placing 3rd, 9th, 7th, 11th and 10th last October. At 15-to-1 odds, he's certainly worthy of a small wager.
Jimmie Johnson (5/1) - Not only has he won this All-Star race four times, but Johnson ranks tops among active drivers (with at least 5 starts) with a stellar 6.2 average finish at this event. The late Dale Earnhardt (nine) is the only driver with more top-5 finishes in this race than Johnson's eight top-5's. He's also racked up six other career victories and four poles at Charlotte Motor Speedway. If you're wagering on multiple drivers on Saturday night, you cannot forget about Johnson.
Greg Biffle (25/1) - A blown engine cost him a chance at winning the 2012 All-Star Race, but Biffle represents great value at 25-to-1 odds (up significantly from 15-to-1 last year) to redeem himself on Saturday night. He has never won at Charlotte, but he placed second the 2008 All-Star Race, and since 2005, Biffle has finished 7th or better in eight of 18 races. In 2012, he placed 4th in both regular-season starts at this track, including winning the pole in the fall race.
Martin Truex Jr. (40/1) - The best longshot on the board is Truex Jr., who has raced pretty well in his career at this All-Star competition. In four starts, he has an average finish of 12.5, and was the runner-up to Kurt Busch the last time he participated in this race in 2010. Truex Jr. also placed 10th in the 2007 All-Star race, and has two top-10 finishes in his past three regular-season races in Charlotte. At 40-to-1, Truex is worthy of a one-unit wager here.