It’s time for the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race is not official Cup event but there is a cash prize on the line. Do keep in mind that the main strategies for lineup construction will not be different compared to any other week at Charlotte, as it is a 1.5 Mile Intermediate track, but there are a reduced number of drivers competing in the event. The salaries have been adjusted accordingly on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Because the field of choices is smaller, there will be a lot of similar lineups between DFS players this week.
Kevin Harvick ($10,000 on DraftKings, $15,000 on FanDuel) is the first driver to win five of the first 12 Cup Series races in a season since 1997. Since 2005 at the All-Star race, Harvick has one win, 10 Top 10 finishes, the third-most Fastest Laps (82), and the fifth-best Driver Rating (86.4). He has incredible consistency this season, as he has finished in the Top 10 in each of the seven races and won the last two. Harvick was first in first practice, third in final practice, and starts fourth. He continues to be one of the best fantasy performers every week and the All-Star race will be no exception, but using him for FanDuel particularly will leave you with little cap flexibility. Being able to have high cap flexbility is crucial for this week’s race, as many drivers have higher than average salaries and the drivers with lower salaries will not help your chances in tournaments. You should definitely use Harvick in a lot of DraftKings lineups for the All-Star race, as his performance on 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks is incredible in 2018, but for FanDuel, have one lineup centered on Harvick while diversifying other lineups with other drivers.
Kyle Busch ($9,700 on DraftKings, $12,500 on FanDuel) is a driver that can be counted on for a good finish at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks. He has finished in the Top 10 in every race at that track type this season, which includes a win at Texas. Kyle Busch has placed in the Top 10 in each of the last three All-Star races, which includes a win in last year’s race. He has the second-best Average Running Position (7.6), the second-most Fastest Laps (427), and the best DR (111.8) across all races in 2018. Kyle Busch was 12th in final practice, had the 10th-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice, and starts seventh. A good number of drivers that were faster than Kyle Busch in final practice may not start in the All-Star race, as they have to race their way into the event through the All-Star Open. He was one of the faster drivers in final practice out of those locked into the All-Star race, and he is having one of his best seasons to date.
Kyle Larson ($9,400 on DraftKings, $9,000 on FanDuel) is one of the best picks for cashing in this week. Larson was the runner-up in last year’s All-Star race and has finished in the Top 10 in three of the last four races at 1.5 Intermediate Tracks this season. He was eighth in first practice, first in final practice, had the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice and starts 16th. Larson has shown better speeds than most that are starting ahead of him in practice, and his starting position means he will score plenty of points from Place Differential. Also, Larson has been improving at Charlotte, as he finished in the Top 10 in two of his last three starts. Look for Larson to place in the Top 5.
MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS
Clint Bowyer ($8,300 on DraftKings, $11,500 on FanDuel) will be a good pick for the All-Star race. He has finished in the Top 10 in two of four races at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks this season and he is a former winner at Charlotte. Bowyer has finished in the Top 10 in five of the last seven races this season and has shown more confidence regardless of track type based on his improved performance compared to the last few years. He starts third, was fifth in first practice, second in final practice, and had the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Bowyer has shown very good speeds throughout practices and will finish around his starting position.
Ryan Blaney ($7,300 on DraftKings, $9,500 on FanDuel) is making his second start in the All-Star race. He finished 11th after starting 18th last year, but he is in better equipment since his last start, so I expect him to have a better result. He was 19th in first practice, ninth in final practice, had the ninth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice, and starts sixth. A lot of the drivers that were faster than Blaney in practices have to race their way into the All-Star race through the All-Star Open. Out of the drivers locked into the All-Star race, he was one of the fastest and he has run well at a lot of 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks this season. Blaney will compete for a Top 5 finish.
Kurt Busch ($7,000 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel) is a former All-Star winner who has been consistent in recent AS events. Kurt Busch has finished in the Top 5 in four of the last five All-Star races and has placed in the Top 10 in each of the last three races this season. He was second in first practice, seventh in final practice, and starts 15th. Kurt Busch is one of the drivers that will pick up plenty of points from PD, as his practice speeds indicate a finish in the Top 10 with a chance of placing in the Top 5.
ALL-STAR OPEN PICKS
Four drivers from the All-Star Open will race their way into the All-Star race, which include each of the three stage winners and the winner of the All-Star fan vote. I think the three stage winners that will get into the All-Star race are Aric Almirola ($6,800 on DraftKings), Daniel Suarez ($6,100 on DraftKings), and Alex Bowman ($6,300 on DraftKings). All three drivers were in the Top 10 practice speeds in final practice with Suarez and Bowman having the second and eighth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages during final practice, respectively. These drivers will be the best bargain picks if they get into the All-Star race. Chase Elliott ($8,000 on DraftKings) will be the fan vote winner. Elliott was last year’s fan vote winner and finished seventh after starting 20th. He was 11th in first practice and 10th in final practice. If Elliott participates in the All-Star race, watch for him to compete for a Top 10 finish.