It’s fitting that North Wilkesboro Speedway was the chosen venue for the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race as the sport celebrates its 75th anniversary.
The track last held the event 27 years ago, with Jeff Gordon taking the checkered flag. After moving to Texas and New Hampshire, it returns to North Wilkesboro’s .625-mile short track for the 39th running of the All-Star race.
The 200-lap race is open to all drivers with at least one Cup Series win this year or last year, along with previous All-Star Race winners and former series champions. The top two finishers from the 100-lap All-Star Open, which precedes the main event, will be added to the field along with the winner of the fan vote.
Teams can use four sets of tires, but can only change once after the competition caution at or around lap 100.
All drivers with at least one Cup Series victory in 2022 or 2023 are eligible for the race, along with previous All-Star Race winners and former series champions.
“I’m excited for it, for sure,” said William Byron, who is coming off his series-best third victory of the season last Sunday at Darlington.
“The track looks gorgeous — it just really looks nice. The whole layout of the place has that feel of kind of a Wrigley Field or just a historic place that has a newness to it.”
Our motoracing experts break down the betting action this week and provide their best bets to win and a longshot driver to keep an eye on.
NASCAR All-Star Race
The Place: North Wilkesboro Speedway, N.C.
The Date: May 21, 8 p.m. ET
The Distance: 125 miles (200 laps)
The Purse: $1M
Defending Champion: Ryan Blaney
Cup Series Leader: Ross Chastain
Radio: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
FIVE BEST BETS
Kyle Larson (+600 at BetMGM)
Larson has a pair of wins on the season and is second among all drivers this week with 9.8 percent of the total bets backing him to win. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet also is tied for second among all drivers with five top-5 this season, although a handful of misfortunes leaves him just ninth in the series standings entering this week.
Kevin Harvick (+800)
Harvick is third in the standings, 29 points behind Chastain and two behind Christopher Bell despite lacking a victory in his final season in 2023. However, he has knocked on the door a few times, including a runner-up finish in Darlington last week. Harvick will switch out his light blue and gray scheme on the No. 4 for a white and red livery on the No. 29 as a throwback to his 2001 season.
William Byron (+900)
No one has more than Byron’s three trips to Victory Lane thus far in 2013 and he also leads the series with six top-5 finishes and 596 total laps led. The only reason he’s not atop the standings already is a 60-point penalty he received at Richmond last month, and Byron already has displayed the ability to win at a wide variety of tracks.
Kyle Busch (+1000)
Busch is BetMGM’s biggest liability this week. After opening at +1400, the two-time series champion’s odds quickly shortened as he leads all drivers with 10.6 percent of the outright winner bets and 13.3 percent of the money backing him. After a win at Talladega, Busch scuffled for a pair of races before working his way to a seventh place at Darlington.
Chase Elliott (+1200)
Elliott needs a good week — and soon — as he sits mired in 28th place. He does have a pair of top-5 in his only seven races due to a broken leg. Elliott opened at +1100 and saw his odds lengthen slightly despite being the sportsbook’s second biggest liability. He is third among all drivers with 8.6 percent of the total bets backing him to win to go long with 8.1 percent of the money.
Brad Keselowski (+2200)
Keselowski hasn’t won since moving into the No. 6 Ford full-time last year, but is in the field courtesy of his status as a series champion. He was involved in a crash with Daniel Suarez during Wednesday’s Late Model race, but Keselowski has been in strong form of late. Last week’s fourth-place finish was his third top-eight result in the past four races.