NASCAR’s finest will earn a spot in Wednesday’s All-Star Race and we want to have a winning wager for the special event.
NASCAR Cup Series: All-Star Race
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1) at Bristol Motor Speedway
A Sort Of Qualifier
Since NASCAR restarted its season, races have not been preceded by practices or qualifiers.
On Wednesday, things will be a bit different — as I describe in detail here.
Directly before the actual All-Star Race, the All-Star Open will be run. In the All-Star Open, the winner of each of the three stages will advance to the All-Star Race. Besides those three drivers, the winner of the All-Star Fan Vote, 2019 Cup Series race winners, 2020 Cup Series race winners, Cup Series champions, and previous All-Star Race winners will participate in the All-Star Race. Given the above criteria, 16 drivers have already qualified for the All-Star Race, including the current top seven drivers in the 2020 Cup Series standings.
A somewhat different set-up applies to the All-Star Race. Whereas the All-Star Open has three stages, there are four in the All-Star Race. Stage 1 will require 55 laps, Stage 2 and Stage 3 require 35 laps, and Stage 4 will last 15 laps. So, a total of 140 laps will be completed. Since the track is .533 miles long, 74.62 miles will be completed by the race’s conclusion. By random draw, the starting lineup has been determined for the All-Star Race, although four more drivers need to qualify. Those four will start in places 17-20. Pit selection is the inverse of the starting order. So, with Martin Truex Jr. starting in pole position, he’ll have the last pit stall.
Like the All-Star Open, the All-Star Race will feature the so-called “choose rule”. We will not see the traditional double-file restart where the leader chooses a lane whereupon every other driver lines up either on the inside or on the outside. Instead, each driver will choose a lane. There is more personal strategy involved in this since drivers will be negotiating between the spot they’re in and their positioning on the outside or inside.
Bristol is short and steeply-banked, which encourages speed. Basically, if a driver were to attempt a turn after driving straight at a very high speed, he would require tremendous force. Banks help provide this force along with friction that the tires provide. In addition to short length and speed, Bristol is known for a few things. For starters, the track is tight and does not allow much room. It is harder for drivers to pass each other on the narrow racing surface and the tight turns.
With fewer total laps in the race, it is easier for drivers to crash as they get desperate.
Forgetting Race History and Short Tracks
One may want to look at race history in order to gauge who is typically motivated for this race. It is deceptive to look at race history because the event had always been run at Charlotte with one exception where it was run in Atlanta. Besides, with the one-million dollar prize and the bright, fan-laden stage, I don’t think motivation will be a problem. Also, I don’t think history at short tracks is a promising statistic to look at because Bristol is rather unique for its dangerousness. I note these unhelpful statistics because it may be tempting to look into them for the following reason: not a lot of drivers have a positive, consistent history at Bristol.
My Favorite Driver
Brad Keselowski is a recent exception to the sundry drivers who tend to struggle at Bristol. He has finished top-three in each of his past two races at Bristol. In 2019, he finished third. In 2020, he won. Clearly, he has figured things out at Bristol since the track’s reconfiguration. Also, with two consecutive top-10 finishes, he demonstrates positive form. With my NASCAR Betting Picks, I recommend Keselowski for the above reasons. Be sure to check Bovada, which should be the first top sportsbook to release odds for this event.