Cup Series Title Contenders lead NASCAR All-Star Race Odds

This year marks a return to North Wilkesboro for the NASCAR race schedule

Throwback weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington proved to be an exciting one.

Kyle Larson and championship leader Ross Chastain made contact late in the NASCAR race while battling for the lead. This took the race to overtime and gave William Byron first place on the road. He held off Kevin Harvick over the final two laps and took his third win of 2023. Byron has more wins this season than any other driver, and this is his first since his consecutive wins in Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The win pushes Byron to the top five of the Cup Series standings. At the top, Chastain leads Christopher Bell by 27 points. Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Byron round out the top five.

The drivers get a break from regular competition this weekend and will compete in the NASCAR All-Star Race. The event marks NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time in nearly 30 years. The top two drivers from the NASCAR All-Star Open — comprised of drivers who have not won points-paying races in 2022 or 2023, have not won prior All-Star races, and are not prior champions — will earn spots alongside the others in the All-Star Race.

Here’s a look at the NASCAR All-Star Race odds for this weekend:

Josh Berry is at the top of the tight leaderboard for the All-Star Open. The JR Motorsports driver has the best odds of winning in the Open race at +360. He’s a full-time Xfinity Series driver but competed in multiple Cup Series races earlier this season, while Chase Elliott was out with an injured leg. Berry raced well in relief and finished as high as second in Richmond ahead of Chastain, Bell, and Harvick. A top-two finish Sunday gets him a deserved spot in the All-Star Race.

Ryan Preece and Cup Series rookie Ty Gibbs are close behind Berry at +400. Between the two, Gibbs has been more consistent in 2023. He had a stretch of four top-10 finishes from Atlanta through Bristol. Preece’s best finish in 2023 is 12th, in addition to a pole position in Martinsville. Gibbs, the reigning Xfinity Series champion, could have the leg up here.

Aric Almirola rounds out the top group at +500. Almirola won the All-Star Open in 2021 for Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s managed just one top-10 finish in the Cup Series this season (sixth at Martinsville). He’ll be in the mix for the win in the Open.

If you’re looking for a bigger payout for the Open, consider backing Justin Haley. He’s ahead of Almirola in the points this season with a trio of top-10 finishes (Las Vegas, Bristol, and Darlington). At +1600, he’s an excellent low-risk, high-reward option.

Cup Series leaders top odds for All-Star Race victory

Larson, Byron, and Harvick are tied for the best NASCAR odds for victory at +700. If not for that late contact with Chastain, Larson could have been the driver to get a third win in 2023 instead of Byron. But even if Byron finished third or fourth on the road, he’s been among the best drivers lately. He’s finished seventh or higher in the last four events on the NASCAR race schedule. No other Cup Series driver can match that. He led the most laps in Dover and took the pole in Kansas. Of the three, he has the most momentum.

Larson’s been unlucky in 2023—the contact with Chastain’s the latest in a string of unfortunate events. If things had gone slightly differently in Atlanta, Phoenix, and Daytona, he’d be far ahead in the Cup Series standings. But they haven’t. Larson’s led more laps in 2023 (582) than everyone except Byron (596). He’s won two All-Star races before (2019 and 2021), and another win this year would go a long way toward building confidence despite the bad results.

Harvick has yet to win a race in 2023 but is enjoying a resurgent year. He’s third in the championship, thanks to consistently finishing in the top 12. He won the 2018 All-Star Race and will likely be near the field’s top again.

More title contenders close behind in All-Star race odds

Bell (+900) is next in line for the odds of victory on Sunday. He’s second to Chastain in the Cup Series standings despite winning just one race in 2023. Thanks to his remarkable run of eight top-eight finishes in 13 races, he’s one of the leaders coming into the weekend.

Chastain is tied at +1000 with Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano. Chastain is the only one of those four yet to win a race in 2023. Truex Jr. won in Dover and led the most laps last week in Darlington, giving him momentum from recent races.

Busch won in Fontana and Talladega but has yet to be consistent outside those top results. It’s a similar story for Logano: a win in Atlanta but just two podiums besides that result. Both have won All-Star races before (Logano in 2016 and Busch in 2017) but not at North Wilkesboro.

Predictions for the NASCAR All-Star Race

The NASCAR All-Star Race Odds paint a fairly even picture for both the Open and Race events. None of the drivers, in either event have raced at North Wilkesboro Speedway at the Cup Series level. For the open, look for Ty Gibbs to take the win. The rookie has been consistent in a competitive Cup Series field and deserves a win and spot in the All-Star Race.

As far as the All-Star Race goes, it’s a close call. Lack of experience on the track evens the playing field even more. Of the favorites, Larson could use this to his advantage and improve his luck.

If you’re going for a longer shot, consider Truex Jr. He’s been a solid driver lately and would’ve finished better than 31st in Darlington if not for getting caught up in the eight-car wreck.

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