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NASCAR DFS: All-Star Race Picks

It’s officially NASCAR All-Star Race weekend from North Wilkesboro! Dale Earnhardt Jr. deserves a ton of credit for revitalizing this historic track. While last year’s race was unfortunate to watch, they did re-pave it for 2024. The drivers have responded well to it with positive reviews. Unfortunately, weather got in the way once again. The Craftsman Truck Series started on Saturday but won’t finish until Sunday morning. Why? Well, the track flooded. It’s certainly a unique situation. Baked into this narrative is the fact the All-Star heat races for Saturday were canceled. I’m going to take a different approach with this week’s article. It’ll resemble more of a NASCAR DFS Preview article. We only know 17 cars in this race (so far) so here are the NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday’s All-Star Race.

As we just mentioned, the overall field is not locked just yet. We still have the All-Star Open that will add a few more drivers to the field for the main race. Sunday’s race will have 200 laps giving us roughly 130+ dominator points to account for. Moreover, we have two stage breaks. The first will occur after lap 100. The second will occur after lap 150. They were ripping off laps very quickly in practice so it’s entirely feasible that this race is over in a flash.

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All-Star Race Picks: The Top Plays

Denny Hamlin (Starting P11)

The current starting lineup is set by practice results. Hamlin will roll off P11. He offers position differential as well as win equity. Most of the appeal with Hamlin for this race lies in the fact that Joe Gibbs Racing runs very well on short, flat tracks. NWB is a unique track in that there’s a slight elevation change between both ends of the track. It’s not outlandishly different, but this track still qualifies as a flatter track. Hamlin won at Richmond earlier this year and is shaping up to be one of the most popular options for Sunday’s race.

William Byron (Starting P13)

For now, I’m skipping over Kyle Larson for our All-Star Race picks. It’s not that he’s a bad play. However, he’s been in Indianapolis this weekend getting laps in ahead of next week’s Indianapolis 500. So for this weekend, it’s been Kevin Harvick who has practiced in the 5-car. So, I’m pivoting to Byron. The field doesn’t have a ton of experience here. More importantly, there was a repave as well. Byron falls into the same pricing tier as Hamlin. We also have Byron starting right behind Hamlin for this race as well. Byron got a short, flat-track win at Martinsville just last month. He and Hamlin likely command a lot of exposure this weekend.

Ryan Blaney (Starting P17)

Blaney offers a ton of position differential for this race. Hopefully, there’s more passing this year than last year. Blaney doesn’t have a win yet this year, but I wouldn’t fret. He didn’t have a win at this point last year either and he went on to win the Cup Series championship in the Fall. But he did grab a top-five at Martinsville. The position differential alone will make him an appealing option and you have to imagine he moves up from this starting spot.

All-Star Race Picks: The Mid-Range

Christopher Bell (Starting P3)

Bell is technically the fifth-most expensive driver on DraftKings for this race. But pricing is a bit soft and you can likely plug him into a build with two drivers mentioned above. I don’t believe Bell necessarily wins, but his pit crew did win the “Pit Crew Challenge” for the second straight year, and with stage breaks late in the race, that could play to his advantage. He starts behind Joey Logano for Sunday’s race. That potentially means early dominator points are in the cards. Similar to Hamlin, his JGR car should thrive on a shorter, flat track like NWB.

Chase Elliott (Starting P15)

This is a fairly easy play among the All-Star Race picks. Chase Elliott starts P15 and has already logged more laps on the re-paved surface than teammate Kyle Larson. Because the starting lineup is set by the practice results, Elliott starts P15 which is deep in the field for this race. But we’re on board with Byron for this race and Elliott should be able to follow his teammate through the field.

Joey Logano (Starting P1)

Logano is an easy option to list for our All-Star Race picks. He starts on the front row for this race and obviously has an easy path to early dominator points. Additionally, he’s very affordable. If he can stay out front and keep the lead for the first stage, there’s a fair chance he’s optimal with a top-five finish. He will have some challenges, though. Former teammate and last week’s winner at Darlington, Brad Keselowski, starts next to him on the front row. And Christopher Bell lines up right behind Logano. Do keep in mind that he has regressed a bit this year. He’s as solid as they come. However, up until last week, the Fords have looked rough this year.

All-Star Race Picks: The Value Plays

This section is a little bit incomplete, even at the time of publishing. Following the All-Star Open, we’ll see the field expand, but unfortunately, we won’t have that information until later in the day on Sunday. So be flexible as the field is not yet finalized.

Michael McDowell (Starting P9)

On DraftKings, McDowell is just $300 more than A.J. Allmendinger, who shares row five with McDowell. Dinger isn’t even a full-time driver in the Cup Series for Kaulig this year. But McDowell has some appeal at a slightly higher price. He starts P9 and just may have a top-five finish in him. He will 100% need to strategize appropriately with the two late cautions. McDowell has been in the news lately as he’s joining Spire Motorsports next year amidst the rumors Front Row Motorsports could be acquiring some of Stewart-Haas Racing’s charters. Regardless, there’s value here if he can gain a couple of spots.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Starting P16)

We’re obviously hoping to go elsewhere in this range. Stenhouse is risky, but a P16 starting spot will still qualify as “deeper” in a field this small. In general, he isn’t a short-track specialist. In this race last year, he started P19 and finished 24th. So it wouldn’t surprise anybody if he went backward. But with a limited driver pool at the time of this writing, he makes the cut. But we’ll see who else makes the big show tomorrow. There could very well be better value options among our All-Star Race picks.

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