The NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro is on Sunday, May 21st. The Spring tradition is an exhibition race with all of the biggest stars in the sport racing for the shot at a $1,000,000 pay day. The 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race has more buzz around it than normal since it’s happening at North Wilkesboro Speedway which has been brought back to life, mainly due to efforts by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Who qualifies for the NASCAR All-Star race? What time are the All-Star Heat Races, All-Star Open, and All-Star Race happening? What were NASCAR qualifying results? What were NASCAR practice results? How are we building NASCAR DFS lineups for Sunday’s race? All of those questions and more will be answered in this week’s NASCAR DFS All-Star Race Preview.

Who qualifies for the NASCAR All-Star Race?

There are 21 drivers who are already in the field for Sunday’s All-Star Race. Any driver with a win in a points-paying — think regular race — race win in 2022 or 2023 are in the field. On top of that, the field is also comprised of former NASCAR Cup Series champions and former All-Star Race winners that don’t meet any other qualifications, ahem talking about you there Ryan Blaney. The night of the All-Star Race is the All-Star Open which will provide two more drivers to the field — those that finish P1 and P2 in the race. The last spot is from a fan vote winner who doesn’t otherwise qualify.

What time is the NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open?

All-Star Race weekend festivities started on Friday with Cup Series practice happening, results below. Following that was the Pit Crew Challenge  which pitted each Cup Series pit crew against each other on a four-tire stop. The faster the pit crew completed the stop the higher up the qualifying order for the All-Star Open and All-Star Heat Races their driver is. What’s the rest of the schedule?


7:20 pm ET - NASCAR All-Star Heat Races (FS1)

  • Two 60-lap Heat races which will set the starting grid for the All-Star Race. The first heat race sets the inside line for the All-Star Race while the second heat race sets the outside line.


5:30 pm ET - NASCAR All-Star Open (FS1)

  • Drivers who are not already qualified for the All-Star Race race in the open. The starting order was set by the Pit Crew Challenge results. Top two finishers in the Open advance to the All-Star Race main event. It is a 100-lap race with a competition caution around Lap 40.

8:00 pm ET - NASCAR All-Star Race (FS1)

  • The 24-driver field (21 qualifiers, two Open qualifiers, one Fan Vote winner) will race 200 laps for a $1 million dollar prize. An “All-Star Caution” will wave at or around Lap 100 to signify the halfway point of the race. Each team will only have one set of sticker tires to put on after that caution.

NASCAR Qualifying and Practice Results

The following tables show the practice results from All-Star Race practice on Friday as well as the qualifying orders for the All-Star Open and All-Star Heats based on the Pit Crew Challenge. The three drivers who didn’t qualifying prior to the weekend will start P22, P23, and P24 in the All-Star Race Sunday night.

All-Star Race Practice Results

All-Star Practice Results
Driver5-Lap Rank10-Lap Rank15-Lap Rank20-Lap Rank25-Lap Rank30-Lap RankAvg
Chris Buescher33245 3.4
Tyler Reddick12212323.7
Denny Hamlin18532 3.8
Bubba Wallace9466  6.3
Aric Almirola10547846.3
Ryan Blaney251131117.0
Ty Gibbs136109437.5
Christopher Bell14775968.0
Kevin Harvick499137 8.4
William Byron611215  8.5
Chase Briscoe71016816810.8
Ross Chastain21168106 12.2
Kyle Larson823171110712.7
Joey Logano1615151613513.3
Martin Truex Jr217131819 13.8
Justin Haley2012    16.0
Ryan Preece513252721916.7
Ricky Stenhouse Jr2614191711 17.4
Austin Dillon2220201412 17.6
Todd Gilliland19192222171218.5
Daniel Suarez3221141214 18.6
Brad Keselowski291811   19.3
Josh Berry2722181915 20.2
Harrison Burton1524212420 20.8
AJ Allmendinger17272321  22.0
Chandler Smith1135    23.0
Michael McDowell24263026221123.2
Austin Cindric28302623231023.3
Kyle Busch18292720  23.5
Chase Elliott2325    24.0
Corey Lajoie3532292518 27.8
Ryan Newman31283228  29.8
Noah Gragson30     30.0
Erik Jones343128   31.0
Ty Dillon33333129  31.5
JJ Yeley3634    35.0
Josh Bilicki       

All-Star Open Qualifying Results

All-Star Open Race Startling Lineup
Starting SpotDriverTeam
1Ty GibbsJGR
2Josh BerryHendrick
3Corey LajoieSpire
4Harrison BurtonWood Brothers
5Justin HaleyKaulig
6Michael McDowellFront Row
7Todd GillilandFront Row
8Ryan PreeceSHR
9Aric AlmirolaSHR
10AJ AllmendingerKaulig
11Josh BilickiLiveFast
12Ty DillonSpire
13Chandler SmithKaulig
14Ryan NewmanRick Ware Racing
15Noah GragsonLegacy Motor Club
16JJ YeleyRick Ware Racing

All-Star Heat Race Qualifying Results

Heat 1

Heat Race 1
Starting SpotDriverTeam
1Daniel SuarezTrackhouse
2Chase ElliottHendrick
3Joey LoganoPenske
4Denny HamlinJGR
5Chase BriscoeSHR
6Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty
7Austin CindricPenske
8Kevin HarvickSHR
9Ryan BlaneyPenske
10Christopher BellJGR
11Erik JonesLegacy Motor Club

Heat 2

Heat Race 2
Starting SpotDriverTeam
1Chris BuescherRFK Racing
2Austin DillonRCR
3William ByronHendrick
4Ross ChastainTrackhouse
5Kyle LarsonHendrick
6Martin Truex Jr.JGR
7Bubba Wallace23XI
8Brad KeselowskiRFK Racing
9Kyle BuschRCR
10Tyler Reddick23XI

NASCAR DFS Lineup Strategy

This race, if you haven’t gathered by now, is different than all the others this year. When we look at the DFS slates now we’ll see a lot of drivers with “Q” next to them to the point where it looks like an NFL injury report. That’s because not everyone will make the field for Sunday’s main event. The best way to build for this weekend’s race is to put in place holder lineups until we see who makes the field officially and then tinker on Sunday between the Open and the All-Star Race. Keep in mind that FanDuel will need to add the drivers that qualify from the Open and Fan Vote to the pool on Sunday for you to be able to play them.

Who are we looking to build around though? This track hasn’t been competitively raced on since 1996 by NASCAR which means no one in the field has raced a Truck or stock car on the surface prior to this weekend, outside of a tire test earlier this year. Can we take anything from other tracks though? Sure, we can take a bit from others.

North Wilkesboro is a .625 or 5/8th mile oval which puts it right between Richmond Raceway and Martinsville in terms of distance. It’s also banked similarly to Richmond in the corners and the straights as well and we can toss Phoenix into the banking mix too. However, it’s not just a short track though. It’s a high-tire-wear track that’s on par with Darlington from last week and Auto Club from earlier in the season. Also similar to Darlington, the setup of the car has to be different for two different parts of the track since the front stretch is downhill and the backstretch is uphill. That dates back to the builders of the track not having the money to properly grade the site before building the track in the first place. So we’re looking for drivers who have been good at high-tire-wear tracks and no their way around short tracks as well.

We’re moderating out approaches a bit this week in terms of both dominators and position differentials. Firstly, the race is only 200 laps total and all laps count, therefore cautions will click laps off when tires below and drivers spin. Secondly, with only 2/3 the field of a normal race, starting dead last and finishing top-20 isn’t as big of a boost this week as it typically is. We’ll want to get a bit weird too since the shorter field means ownership on everyone jumps up but the popular drivers will go up in ownership. We can’t really look back at other All-Star races either since they’ve typically been run on 1.5-,mile tracks like Charlotte and Texas but the formats were different for setting the field and at various points only green flag laps have counted thus throwing off PD and dominator point scoring. I’m mostly approaching this like a combination of Richmond and Darlington in terms of tough to pass and managing tires being the two most important aspects.

NASCAR DFS top plays for All-Star Race

I have put some of my favorite bets for the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro up on Pickswise, for free, and just like those bets, we’ll be looking at a handful of similar drivers as to who we’re building around.

Kyle Larson
($10,100 DraftKings; $13,500 FanDuel)

It’s Larson, it’s a tough track. Need we say any more? He’s excelled at tough tracks in his career and got faster as the tires got worse at Auto Club and Darlington. The practice times haven’t always been there for Larson but he finds a way to be there in the end more often than not.

Christopher Bell
($9,500 DraftKings; $11,500 FanDuel)

Bell has that dirt racing background, just like Larson, and that benefits him here for the tire wear and finding speeding. Trust the dirt guys to find speed in the cushions later in the runs, if we get long runs on Sunday night. He’s also been quick and the most consistent Toyota driver at the tracks listed above as “similar.”

William Byron
($9,100 DraftKings; $13,000 FanDuel)

Byron raced a lower-division car here on Wednesday night and finished runner-up to Bubba Pollard, Late Model legend. The only other experience racing here is on iRacing where he’s had success taking what he sees on simulators and screens and bringing it to the track to run well. Let’s also not forget that Byron has been fast basically everywhere this year regardless of track style. This is perhaps a mis-price on DK’s part.

Tyler Reddick
($7,700 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel)

Reddick ran well at practice on Friday. He also loves the worn out tracks and is typically fast at those like Homestead, Auto Club, Darlington, and old Atlanta. He’s another guy where the starting spot doesn’t necessarily matter as he’ll find a way to move up and challenge for the lead at some point in most races. Expect that again on Sunday.

Ryan Blaney
($7,400 DraftKings; $8,000 FanDuel)

What’s he doing here? Well, in fairness to him the only race win he has in the last year and change is the All-Star race last year at Texas. So maybe the lure of the $1,000,000 check is what it takes to get him to victory lane once again. Let’s also not downplay that he was the fastest in practice the longer the runs went which should also help him in the race, assuming it’s a clean night for him and not pit road issues show up.

Chase Briscoe
($6.800 DraftKings; $6,000 FanDuel)

Remember when I said we have to get different? Well, Briscoe is a guy that can help you do that. He’s run well at Auto Club, Darlington, Martinsville, and Richmond this year in general as well as Phoenix for good measure. Briscoe was also top-10 in speed in most of the lap averages including 5-, 10-, 20-, 30-lap averages.

Chris Buescher
($6,400 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel)

Buescher keeps flying under the radar as a good short track driver and a guy who manages his equipment well. That fits perfectly with what’s needed at North Wilkesboro on Sunday night. Buescher also went out and ran top-five speeds in a lot of the lap averages on Friday afternoon. It may not translate to the race exactly considering that was afternoon and not night, but he’s also had solid runs at the tracks we’re looking at as well.