2019 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race Picks & Odds
Race: Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race
Date: Saturday May 18, 2019
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Time: 8pm ET
What We Learned From Last Weekend
Kansas was surprisingly a decent race! For once, the aero package did it’s thing on something other than a superspeedway. Kansas boasted some decent passing with Brad Keselowski taking the checkers. He was not one of our selections but he’s done well at Kansas in the past, but his year has been somewhat inconsistent. Going into Charlotte, a win here is just what he needed to catapult him into the right mindset. Unfortunately, Alex Bowman is sitting in 2nd place once again, with his 3rd straight runner-up finish. He’s got to be itching to see those checkers first. The disappointment is becoming clear, but he needs to hang tight. His day will come. It’s not “if”. It’s “when” for this talented young driver.
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Some of the more eventful and colorful language and driving came on the cool down laps between Clint Bowyer and Erik Jones. Bowyer had a killer run in the closing lap and Jones threw a hard block and completely ruined his momentum. Bowyer could’ve easily hit him and spun him but he didn’t. He was very clearly mad, which was certainly noticed on the scanners, but that’s racing for you. There was actually passing for the lead outside of green flag pitstops and the top 5 drivers didn’t consistently have a 17 second lead between each other. It was a nice change of pace if I’m being completely honest.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
This weekend, the drivers are heading to Charlotte for the All-Star Race. This is a much different race than anything we typically see during the normal season. The All-Star Race is a race for the fans. It’s not too shabby of a race for the drivers either. The prize is $1 million. That’s quite the incentive for a race that doesn’t award points. With nothing to lose other than $1 million, they can get vicious on the track. This race is also only 85 laps. It’s broken down into 4 total segments divided into 30, 20, 20, and 15 laps. Charlotte is the epitome of a cookie cutter intermediate track. It’s a 1.5-mile asphalt quad-oval with 24 degree banking in the turns and 5 degrees in the straights. Tires always play a role and generally fuel strategy comes into play, but because the stages are so short, it might not make too big of a difference here. We’ll have to see what strategies these guys utilize this weekend. They won’t know their starting positions until Friday night. Qualifying will set the top 15 spots, with the next 3 positions being set by the Open stage winners. The Open precedes the All-Star on Saturday night. The 19th position will be determined by fan vote.
Potential Odds and Winners At Charlotte
The winner pick here can be a little tricky. Because it’s not a points race, the drivers all tend to be a lot more aggressive. It’s one of those races where there’s somewhat of an unspoken rule that anything goes, within reason. That being said, I’m going against popular opinion on my pick. It’s not a crazy choice by any means. The odds actually favor him, but for some reason, people are trumping Kevin Harvick (13-2) over Kyle Busch (9-2). With Kyle’s strength this season along with his ability to win races at Charlotte, there’s no doubt that his aggressive driving style provides just what is needed to take home the checkers on Saturday night. I think that Harvick will absolutely be strong being that he’s the defending champ, but 2018 was a much different year for that team.
My Pick to Win: Kyle Busch (9-2)
Middle of the Road Pick: Chase Elliott (8-1)
Dark Horse Prediction: Erik Jones (18-1)
This will be an inaugural All-Star race for Jones. While he’s new to the race, he showed last weekend that he knows how to be aggressive. Maybe he shouldn’t have blocked Bowyer like he did, but in my opinion, that’s part of stock car racing. He had the pair to get it done and outran Bowyer, so there’s that. I think that this will be a strong show for Jones. Chase Elliott is overall a great intermediate track racer. Chase ran the All-Star last year and came home with a 5th place finish. That’s not too shabby for this young driver. He’s only getting better, and I think that he will try out some more aggressive tactics to win the $1 million. This is sure to be a great race this weekend.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Joey Logano (15-2)
2. Kyle Busch (9-2)
3. Kevin Harvick (13-2)
4. Chase Elliott (8-1)
5. Brad Keselowski (7-1)
6. Denny Hamlin (12-1)
7. Martin Truex Jr. (15-2)
8. Kurt Busch (14-1)
9. Clint Bowyer (13-1)
10. Ryan Blaney (18-1)
11. Aric Almirola (16-1)
12. Alex Bowman
13. Daniel Suarez
14. Erik Jones (18-1)
15. Kyle Larson (60-1)
16. Jimmie Johnson (20-1)
Jimmie Johnson made his way back into NASCAR‘s top 16 spot. That’s a coveted place to be, but it’s eluded him and the team for more time than I’m sure he’d care to admit. This weekend will be a nice breather to prepare him for the 600, which he is notoriously good at. I think that we’re going to see a lot of risks. We’re going to see a lot of different strategies from the teams. Though this is a much different race than the 600, you best believe that these teams are prepping for Memorial Day. This is not going to be for naught. Stay tuned for one of the most action-packed races you’ll see all year. Saturday night at Charlotte will not disappoint!
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