This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.
Monster Energy All-Star Race
Location: Concord, N.C.
Course: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
It is time again for the annual Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race weekend, which serves as the traditional prequel to NASCAR's longest race on Memorial Day weekend, the Coca-Cola 600. Each year the All-Star race serves up something unique. Last year it was a trial run of the high-drag aerodynamic package. This year it will be two elements that may feature on the next generation Cup car. First is a single-piece carbon fiber oil pan that is designed to improve ride-height sensitivity and allow for more stable aerodynamics, even in traffic. That should promote additional passing throughout the field. Second, the radiator ducts will exit through the hood versus into the engine compartment. This design is supposed to improve aerodynamics while also lowering engine temperature. In addition to the two technical changes NASCAR extended the final of four stages by five laps to 15. This brings the total number of laps run this year to 85 versus 80 last season. Drivers who earn automatic entry to the showcase race include those who won a points race in 2018 or 2019, past All-Star Race winners and former series champions who are still racing full time in the series. Everyone else will have to earn their way in by winning a stage in the Monster Energy Open or the fan vote.
Key All-Star Race Stats
Number of previous races: 34
Winners from pole: 4
Winners from top-5 starters: 20
Winners from top-10 starters: 25
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 2
Last 10 All-Star Winners
While this weekend's racing is largely for entertainment, it can give some insight into what to expect in the future. It is the first opportunity for fantasy owners to see who might be quick on the fast Charlotte oval. The second race at the circuit is now a road course event, which means fantasy owners haven't seen drivers running on this oval in anger since May of 2018. Kevin Harvick won the All-Star race last time out when he was in the midst of a dominating run of form. Joe Gibbs Racing seems to have the edge at the moment, but all will be curious to see how big of an impact the two technical changes will have. We saw an entertaining race last season with the introduction of the aerodynamic package largely being used this season. The two tweaks this season could serve to enhance that parity throughout the field. Kyle Busch went on to win the Coca-Cola 600 a week later in dominating fashion. Seven of the 21 drivers taking part in last years All-Star Race led laps, but Harvick was the king with 36 total of the 80 scheduled. Fantasy owners will want to keep track of those teams running at the front this week as many of the same are likely to be contenders again just one week later.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
While there are so many great drivers to choose from in the All-Star Race this time a few jump to the top of the list. Kyle Busch has been dominant all season thus fa and he should be one of the main contenders again this week. He led 19 laps in this race last season before going on to dominate the Coca-Cola 600 a week later starting from pole position and leading 377 of the 400 laps. Chase Elliott has been benefitting from Hendrick Motorsports' gains and was voted into the main even last year by the fans after finishing third in the Monster Energy Open. Denny Hamlin is an All-Star winner from 2015, and will be aiming for his first Charlotte points race win in two weeks. He finished fourth after leading seven laps in the All-Star Race last year. Last year Clint Bowyer didn't make it to the finish, but does have one Charlotte oval win to his credit along with the top starting spot for this race. Perhaps the biggest bargain on this list is Daniel Suarez, though. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver won the second stage of the Open race last year and then went on to finish second in the main event. He also has a top-10 points finish on the Charlotte oval and should be a good use of funds this week as he should sail through the Open to advance. Rounding out the lineup is Erik Jones. Jones has had some bad luck this year but was third a week ago. He finished second in last year's All-Star Race and a good finish this week should give him a good jump on preparations for the 600 a week later.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano have both been finding success in the All-Star Race. Kevin Harvick won it all last year and Logano was third. Kurt Busch won the All-Star Race in 2010 and the Coca-Cola 600 in 2010. He has been one of the best Chevrolet drivers this season and the manufacturer heads into Charlotte with a head full of momentum. Kyle Larson is the only question mark in the higher-risk lineup. While he isn't guaranteed a spot in the All-Star Race it is tough to envision a scenario where he doesn't advance. He led six laps in last year's race and went on to finish seventh in the 600. Aric Almirola didn't make it into last year's main event, but he did lead 11 laps in the Open. He is guaranteed a spot this year and will be aiming to show what he can do. One driver that has been building confidence and momentum is Jimmie Johnson. Hendrick Motorsports is making big gains and Johnson has been climbing the finishing order. A win this weekend could open the floodgates that have frustrated him for too long. If he did, it would be his fifth All-Star Race victory.