NASCAR Barometer: Busch Wins All-Star Race

NASCAR Barometer: Busch Wins All-Star Race

This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.

Kyle Busch finally got the job done Saturday night in Charlotte. He scored his first Cup car win at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his first All-Star race win and a million-dollar check. The win is a relief for the team that has been so close to Victory Lane so often this season but has come up short each time. The teams and drivers now must shift their focus from the short runs of the Monster Energy All-Star race to the endurance test that is the Coca-Cola 600.

UPGRADE

Kyle Busch – Busch grabbed the big paycheck Saturday night, winning his first Charlotte race in a cup car. He got an extra million dollars for his efforts, but, more importantly, it gives him the visit to Victory Lane that he has been reaching for all season. Saturday's win doesn't count toward the championship but it could be the start to a long run of that has been building for the No. 18 team. With 10 top-fives and 15 top-10s from 26 career Charlotte tries it's time for him to open his victory account for the season. Busch crashed out of last year's Coca-Cola 600 but could be one of the favorites this coming Sunday.

Kyle Larson – Larson got a perfect start to Saturday's All-Star race. He won the first stage and cruised to the second as well. He lost track position in the third stage but climbed his way forward in the final 10-lap dash to make a last-lap pass

Kyle Busch finally got the job done Saturday night in Charlotte. He scored his first Cup car win at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his first All-Star race win and a million-dollar check. The win is a relief for the team that has been so close to Victory Lane so often this season but has come up short each time. The teams and drivers now must shift their focus from the short runs of the Monster Energy All-Star race to the endurance test that is the Coca-Cola 600.

UPGRADE

Kyle Busch – Busch grabbed the big paycheck Saturday night, winning his first Charlotte race in a cup car. He got an extra million dollars for his efforts, but, more importantly, it gives him the visit to Victory Lane that he has been reaching for all season. Saturday's win doesn't count toward the championship but it could be the start to a long run of that has been building for the No. 18 team. With 10 top-fives and 15 top-10s from 26 career Charlotte tries it's time for him to open his victory account for the season. Busch crashed out of last year's Coca-Cola 600 but could be one of the favorites this coming Sunday.

Kyle Larson – Larson got a perfect start to Saturday's All-Star race. He won the first stage and cruised to the second as well. He lost track position in the third stage but climbed his way forward in the final 10-lap dash to make a last-lap pass on Jimmie Johnson to take the runner-up spot. It was another great 2017 performance from, and fantasy players can expect his roll to continue. With one win so far this season he could be in store for another this week. He ran fifth at the track last fall and finished 13th in the 600 as well. He has only led eight laps in points races at the circuit, but his speed Saturday night should put him out front often this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson is a multiple All-Star race winner but was unable to reel in Busch in the final laps to win another Saturday night. He finished third in Saturday's special edition after a gutsy pass by Larson on the final lap, but now he's firmly focused on this week's bigger prize. He has won eight times in Charlotte points races, including last fall when he led 155 of 334 laps. He finished third in the 600 last year, and likely will be a contender again this Sunday. He has two top-10s, including a win, in the last four races and is one of just three drivers to have two wins so far this season.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer started the Monster Energy Open like he was on a mission, and he led all 20 laps of the opening stage to unlock a spot in the All-Star race with a shot to win Saturday night's big prize. He then came out swinging once the main event got underway. The team used creative strategy with the night's special option tires to gain an advantage and some track position for the third stage of the race, which could have made the difference for him. It wasn't enough to get him into the final 10-lap sprint, but it was still a confidence-building night for the team. Bowyer has one Charlotte victory from the fall race of 2012, and his prospects for returning with Stewart Haas Racing appear very bright.

Daniel Suarez – Suarez advanced from the Open to the All-Star race in a thrilling duel with Chase Elliott and Erik Jones. The Joe Gibbs Racing rookie turned in what is becoming his trademark calm-cool-and-collected performance in a wheel-to-wheel battle between the trio, and his calmness served him well by giving him the opportunity to come out on top in the green-white-checkered finish to earn his first All-Star appearance. The extra laps he got by advancing into the night's main event will help him for this coming week's race. He finished 15th on Saturday but faces an entirely different challenge this Sunday. Expect more of his cool and steady driving to reward fantasy players selecting him.

DOWNGRADE

Matt Kenseth – While his teammate was getting an important win, Kenseth was dealing with a mechanical failure. An oil leak was discovered during his first pit stop, and his chances to win the million dollars went up in smoke. The few laps he did complete Saturday may give him a little bit of info to use in next week's race, however. He finished inside the top 10 in both visits to the track last season and has two wins, but his only victory in the 600-mile race was back in 2000. Kenseth has run well most of the season to date, and he should find Victory Lane soon. Still, Joe Gibbs Racing is not enjoying the advantage it had last year.

Erik Jones – By all accounts Jones should have earned a spot in the All-Star race, but unfortunate circumstances put him out of contention. He was battling door to door with Elliott and Suarez but ran out of track and damaged his car. His night was over despite him being one of the fastest cars throughout the Open. He now will have to focus his efforts in preparation for next week's 600-mile race. The Furniture Row Racing rookie has four Xfinity starts at Charlotte with two top-five finishes. He led laps in each of his last two visits to the track in that series and should have a fast car for next week's event. The lingering question about him each week is whether he'll see the finish.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – A brush with the wall hampered an already rough evening for Earnhardt in Saturday's All-Star race. In 33 Charlotte starts Earnhardt has 12 top-10 finishes but only has one top-five in the last seven races. Not much is going right for Earnhardt on track at this point, and it appears as though his woes will stretch into Sunday's 600 as well. However, the season is a long one and he has plenty of time to get things going before the playoffs arrive. For fantasy players his rough patch is a warning, however. It might be best to avoid selecting him until you are confident his on-track luck has turned for the better.

Ryan Newman – Newman had a night to forget on Saturday. The car was largely at the back of the field throughout each of the race's first three stages, and the situation became insurmountable after contact in the third segment. Needless to say, he wasn't one of the 10 drivers to advance into the final segment and failed to finish the third segment. Newman is in a comfortable position for the playoffs with a win under his belt but he only has one top-10 finish in the last four races heading into this weekend's 600. While the team has improved over past seasons, it's still not at its best. Fantasy players have plenty of other options for value in their lineups at the moment.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Chase Elliott – Elliott missed out on winning his way into the All-Star race from the Open but won the fan vote to get his chance in the main event. He put that opportunity to good use, too. Elliott was one of the final 10 cars with a good enough average finish from the first three stages of the race to make it into the final 10-lap shootout. It was a tremendous performance from the young driver especially considering he advanced further than the other cars that transferred from the Open. Saturday night's extended run in the All-Star race will give him more experience to use to his advantage next week. It isn't unprecedented for a driver to win their first race in the Coca-Cola 600.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NASCAR Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NASCAR fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
NASCAR DFS: PrizePicks Selections for the EchoPark Automotive 400
NASCAR DFS: PrizePicks Selections for the EchoPark Automotive 400
NASCAR DFS:  AutoTrader EchoPark  Automotive 400
NASCAR DFS: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Preview: New Date for Texas
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Preview: New Date for Texas
NASCAR DFS Trucks:  SpeedyCash.com 250
NASCAR DFS Trucks: SpeedyCash.com 250