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What to Watch: 2023 All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro

What to Watch: 2023 All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro

All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway
(⏰ 8 p.m. ET | 📺 FS1, FOX Sports App | 📻 MRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Wilkes County, the second exhibition race of the 2023 Cup Series campaign.

Weekend schedule | TV schedule | Weather tracker | North Wilkesboro 101

💫 All-Star Open: Sunday, May 21 at 6 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) | See format info, Pit Crew Challenge 🛞

📍 Location: North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
📐 Track length: 0.625 miles
🎟️ Buy tickets: Find weekend passes, seats for the race
💰 Cup Series race purse: $3,563,159
💵 Grand prize for the winner: $1 million
📏 Race distance: 125 miles | 200 laps
🔢 Stages: No stages

🚪 Entry list: All-Star Open | All-Star Race
📋 Starting lineup: TBD
🚗 Pit stall assignments:
TBD
🏆 Most recent winner: Ryan Blaney (Texas Motor Speedway, 2022)

Key things to watch 🔑

Top story line

North Wilkesboro and NASCAR go hand-in-hand. After a 26 year-absence from the NASCAR schedule, the iconic North Carolina short track has been revived and is ready to race. It’s as simple as that. From hosting Strictly Stock Series (now Cup Series) races in 1949 to Jeff Gordon’s valiant victory in 1996, the history at North Wilkesboro Speedway is unrivaled by most. Whichever driver wins Sunday’s All-Star Race will have their name written alongside some of the pioneers and most iconic drivers of the sport. For a track that was once on its last leg, this weekend’s revival and boost back to national prominence signifies another chapter in this track’s epic story.

📸 Before and after: Take a look at the incredible track transformation | 🎈Open house: Fans gather to celebrate before Sunday’s action

History tells us…

Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. will be as hungry as ever. Both drivers have their share of Hall of Fame accolades, including a Cup Series championship on their resume. But despite their decades of race wins combined, neither has won the All-Star Race. Keselowski and Truex are just two of 11 drivers with 10 or more starts in the event to never reach Victory Lane — and they are the only active. Keselowski has frustratedly finished runner-up three times (2012, 2016 and 2021) and Truex once in 2010. The two veteran drivers have each had solid starts to their 2023 campaigns and will both have their sights set on checking this box off their bucket lists.

He may not be the betting favorite to win, but watch out for…

Daniel Suárez. Suárez has been off to a shaky start the season after making a deep playoff push in 2022. He currently sits 18th in the Cup Series standings, while his teammate Ross Chastain has battled his way to the top. But the No. 99 crew has plenty of time left to turn their season around and with significantly less pressure during All-Star Race weekend, this should be the perfect formula to get them back on track. Suárez opens at 35-1 odds for Sunday’s race, making him intriguing enough among drivers outside the betting favorites. Having a leg up on some of the other drivers, Suárez competed in the ASA STARS National Tour and CARS Tour events mid-week, where he showed significant prowess in practice, qualifying and portions throughout the features. This should give him an extra boost of confidence and a leg up on most others with the extra track time. | See more opening odds for Sunday’s race

Inside the Race 🔍

This week, MRN’s Todd Gordon and NBC Sports’ Steve Letarte break down Ross Chastain’s aggressive driving.

Familiar favorites ⭐️

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

• Paint Scheme Preview: New schemes for North Wilkesboro, including a Harvick tribute | Pick a favorite
• Power Rankings: Joey Logano and the No. 22 team searching for a spark | Latest driver rankings
• Betting odds: See which driver is the favorite for Sunday | Top bets, underdog picks
• Stacking Pennies:
Talking Ross Chastain and Julie Giese joins to discuss Chicago | Listen to the podcast

💎 NASCAR 75: Honoring NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers during diamond anniversary celebration | Check out the list

Hot off the press 📰

Key stories and breaking news from the week leading up to the race.

• Ross Chastain: Analyzing the driver’s talent, opportunities and challenges | Read more
• Penalty report:
No. 45 team penalized following Darlington | Read more
• Kevin Harvick:
Driver paying homage with one final ride in No. 29 | Read more
• From sim to star:
Byron matching Logano’s pace in pursuit of championship | Read analysis
• Kyle Busch:
Driver says William Byron is a ‘rare talent’ | Read more
• Pit-road stats:
Truex, Harvick benefit from solid days at Darlington | Read more
• Truck Series:
NASCAR teams penalized following Darlington, Kansas | Read more
• Mission 600:
Aric Almirola wraps up 2023 program with visit to Camp Lejeune | Read more
• Chicago Street Race:
As days wane, excitement grows | Read more
• NASCAR Salutes:
In-depth feature on Martha Nemechek | Read more | Learn about Salutes
• Darlington:
See vintage camera photos from Throwback Weekend | View them here

Get in on the action 💰

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy and Fan Rewards.

🚨 REMINDER: No Fantasy Live this week — check in again and set your lineup next week!

• Fan Rewards: New in 2023, get rewarded for your participation | Learn more
• NASCAR BetCenter: Don’t miss your chance to make picks each week | Visit the BetCenter
• Going the distance:
2023 Cup Series championship odds | See them here

Reviving NASCAR’s roots 🚀

History behind the Cup Series All-Star Race and a dive into the highly-anticipated return to North Wilkesboro.

• Winner, winner: See every All-Star Race winner, including defending winner Ryan Blaney | See them here
• Back to life:
North Wilkesboro enjoying a near-miraculous revival | Read more
• Short-track starter:
Bubba Pollard holds off William Byron to win Super Late Model race | Watch the video
• More racing:
Butterbean pulls away for monumental victory on Wednesday | Read full recap

Take some notes 📝

Five hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

Kyle Larson is the only repeat winner in the last 10 All-Star races.
Joey Logano is one away from Carl Edwards’ all-time streak (nine) for consecutive top-10 finishes in the All-Star Race.
Daniel Suárez has the second-best average finish among active drivers in the All-Star Race — 7.33. Logano is first at 6.17.
Kevin Harvick’s 2018 All-Star Race victory made him the third oldest driver (42) to win the event. Mark Martin won at 46.
Michael Waltrip and Ryan Newman are the only two drivers to win an All-Star Race before their first points win.