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2013 NASCAR All Star Saturday Night Preview 

Festivites kick off at 7:30pm, May 18, on Speed

NASCAR continues its odd timing for their All Star race this weekend. I call it odd since they are the only ones who hold the All Star race well before the halfway point of the season. Not that I have a problem with it I just find it strange that they would name their All Stars after just eleven races. Either way it is a fun Saturday night under the lights in Charlotte. This year's format is a little different and should make for some nice drama.

PS. I know Fox Sports 1 is about to take over Speed so the point is basically moot now but why the hell have we gone all these years without Speed in HD? In fact stay tuned because YAPS... Speed is coming soon.

First off the criteria for qualifying for this race remains basically the same. Drivers who have won a race this year or last year qualify. If a driver won a race with a team they have since left the driver remains eligible while the team does not. Also any driver who has won the All Star race or the Sprint Cup championship in the past 10 years qualifies. Drivers who don’t meet the criteria thus far will have a chance to race their way into the field in the Sprint Showdown a 40 lap race before the All Star race. The top two finishers of that race will find themselves in the main event. The last way to get in is to win the fan vote. Click here to vote. This year the driver who wins the fan vote does not need to finish on the lead lap like years past they just need to have a car in “raceable” condition.

This year the format is bit different for the All Star race as well. Last year they had a fan vote to determine the format amongst other things. This year there are four twenty lap segments followed by a mandatory four tire change. After that the drivers will be lined up according to their average finish in the first four segments before sprinting to the finish in a final ten lap segment, in which only green flag laps will count. This really makes every lap of the race meaningful, especially when you start talking about prize money...

Like last year the winner takes home a cool million making it the richest per mile purse in racing at over $7,400 per mile raced. But should any single driver sweep all five segments they will walk home with an extra $1M known as Bruton’s Big Bonus.

Best Bets:

Martin Truex Jr +125 to win the Sprint Showdown

I couldn’t find the odds on him just straight up making the All Star race in some capacity whether it is by fan vote or finishing in the top 2 of the Showdown but ultimately it will not matter because he is not losing this race. He is on the pole and is by far the best driver in the field at these types of races. I really think he might win the main event tonight but those odds won’t be up until after he qualifies for it. So for now let’s be smart and make some easy money. Marty thrives at at these kind of tracks and in these non points races. He can’t seem to get the monkey off his back in a points race but he surely won’t accept not even running in the All Star race. He might lead all 40 laps.

Jimmie Johnson 6-1 to win the All Star Race

Three time All Star race winner, seventeen time intermediate tri-oval track winner, six time Charlotte winner. By the way he is starting 4th yet he isn’t the favorite (Kyle Busch +300). I am not sure what’s not to like. Maybe his 6-1 odds? Does that really scare you? It’s tough to say someone with 6-1 odds has a lot of value but he is one of just three drivers to win this thing three times (Jeff Gordon and Dale Sr. are the others). I would have put his odds at +250 and even then I would have considered him a must bet.

Tony Stewart 25-1 to win the All Star Race

Just too much value for a guy with the 5th best average finish at Charlotte amongst active drivers. I know it probably isn’t smart to bet on a team that can’t seem to wrap their heads around this Gen 6 car. Despite getting their engines from the best, Hendrick Motorsports, Tony has managed just one top 10 this season, race #2 at Phoenix where he finished 8th. On the year he has an average finish of 21.7. If you pull out his 8th place finish and 11th place finish the following week at Las Vegas that number jumps to 23.67. Also he has one led laps in one race that was in California for a very short time.

Point is I know he has been bad this year. But he also has run into some bad luck. At California he had at least a top 10 maybe a top 7 car but was nearly run off the track by Joey Logano which ran him all the way back to 22nd where he finished. Then at Richmond he was on his way to a probable top 10 before being pushed out of the racing groove by Kurt Busch before finishing 18th. Both run-ins prompted post race fireworks and I expect more fireworks but this time in the way of winning.

It has been well documented that as the weather warms so does Stewart. It is also well documented that I am a Tony Stewart fan. But don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not picking him because I am a homer. I am picking him because he has the third best average finish at intermediate tri-oval race tracks and because this is the perfect time for him to let everyone know he isn’t going to just bow out. He is starting sixth and with the small field he will be able to do what he hasn’t all year, run up front. Giving him at least a punchers chance to win and as we have seen in the past no driver can throw punches like Smoke.

This is the week he makes a statement. He is my pick to win this thing and 25-1 is just a gift. Go ahead and throw even just $10 on him and thank me later. And after he wins this one be prepared to parlay that $260 into more money next weekend when he takes down the Coke 600. If he wins this one he WILL win next weekend just like Jimmie Johnson did last year. Oh and while we are at it...

Tony Stewart 50-1 to win the Sprint Cup Championship

I would have to really be a delusional homer to think this is absolutely going to happen but 50-1?! I challenge you to find be a better value bet out there right now in any fashion. Screw that. I challenge you to find me a better value bet ever. Yes he might be too far back to get in on points even with eighteen points races remaining on the schedule. But there are two wildcard spots up for grabs and while I think Denny gets one Tony could absolutely grab the second. While he has never run this poorly to start a year his season has in large part started right around now. The upcoming tracks benefit him and his odds of winning two or three are far greater than him winning none.

In his illustrious fourteen year career Smoke has only finished outside the top 10 in the final standings once (2006 he finished 11th). Only four times in those fourteen seasons has we won just two or fewer times and he has NEVER gone a full season without a win. Five years he has won four or more times. He has three championships under his belt and if I have learned one thing, especially after that Bruins comeback, it is that cliche “Never underestimate the heart of a champion” is absolutely true. Do not count him out ever. Just look at his most recent title. He was dead in the water until he seemingly decided he was going to win a title. He is capable of finding that Michael Jordan type extra gear. If you don’t think Stewart is a good bet at 50-1 then you clearly have never watched a NASCAR race before this season.

Just don’t wait because those odds can only drop. There is really no scenario in which those odds get better. He could wreck out tonight and the odds won’t get any better. They can only go down from here.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

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