How to watch, entries, best bets and more as the Cup Series returns to North Wilkesboro

If you enjoyed ‘Throwback Weekend’ at Darlington, get ready for another dose of nostalgia at the NASCAR All-Star Race. North Wilkesboro Speedway, which last hosted a Cup Series event in September 1996, will host the All-Star Open and race Sunday, part of NASCAR’s heritage celebration in its 75th year.

Here’s everything you need to know for NASCAR All-Star Weekend:

NASCAR All-Star Race TV/streaming schedule

All times Eastern

Friday, May 19
4-5 p.m.: All-Star Open and Race practice (FS1)
5:30-7 p.m.: All-Star Open and Race qualifying – pit stop challenge (FS1)

Saturday, May 20
7-9 p.m.: All-Star Open and Race heats (FS1)

Sunday, May 21
5-6 p.m.: All-Star Open (FS1, Fox Deportes)
8-10 p.m.: All-Star Race (FS1, Fox Deportes)

NASCAR All-Star Race format

Cup Series regulars who have (a) won a race in 2022 or 2023, (b) won a previous All-Star Race, or (c) won a Cup Series championship are automatically entered into the 200-lap event. There are 21 drivers who meet that criteria and the remaining three to complete the 24-car field will be determined by the top two finishers of the 100-lap All-Star Open and a fan vote.

Prior to the Open, times from a pit stop competition Friday night will determine the starting grids for two 60-lap heat races to be run Saturday night. Similar to the Daytona 500 twin qualifying races, one heat will determine the inside lane starters for the All-Star Race and the other will determine the outside lane.

Cars will start the All-Star Race on brand-new sticker tires and will only be able to utilize one set after the competition caution. The winner takes home $1 million – the second-highest payout of the year after the Daytona 500.

North Wilkesboro Speedway details

North Wilkesboro opened in 1947 – the same year as NASCAR’s oldest track in Richmond, Virginia – and from 1949 to 1996 annually held at least one Cup Series race. It is unique to other tracks which, save for banking, are more or less “level” the speedway features a downhill front stretch and an uphill backstretch.

Built: 1947
First Cup Series race: Oct. 16, 1949 (won by Bob Flock)
Last Cup Series race: Sept. 29, 1996 (won by Jeff Gordon)
Profile: 0.625-mile oval
Banking: 3 degrees on straightaways, 14 degrees in turns

NORTH WILKESBORO, NC - 1996:  Terry Labonte (No. 5) and Harry Gant (No. 33) lead the field during a NASCAR Cup race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. This was the final year the historic track held races for the Cup series. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images)

NASCAR last held a Cup Series event at North Wilkesboro in September 1996 with legends like Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace in the field. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images)

NASCAR All-Star Race entries

(2022-23 race winners unless otherwise noted)

Ross Chastain (1), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Austin Cindric (2), Team Penske Ford
Austin Dillon (3), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson (5), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
pc-Brad Keselowski (6), RFK Racing Ford
Kyle Busch (8), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Chase Elliott (9), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Denny Hamlin (11), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
pw-Ryan Blaney (12), Team Penske Ford
Chase Briscoe (14), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Chris Buescher (17), RFK Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr. (19), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Christopher Bell (20), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Joey Logano (22), Team Penske Ford
Bubba Wallace (23), 23XI Racing Toyota
William Byron (24), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick (29), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Erik Jones (43), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Tyler Reddick (45), 23XI Racing Toyota
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47), JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
Daniel Suárez (99), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
pc: Past Cup Series champion | pw: Past All-Star Race winner

NASCAR All-Star Open entries

Corey LaJoie (7), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
Aric Almirola (10), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Chandler Smith (13), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
JJ Yeley (15), Rick Ware Racing Ford
A.J. Allmendinger (16), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
Harrison Burton (21), Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Justin Haley (31), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell (34), Front Row Motorsports Ford
Todd Gilliland (38), Front Row Motorsports Ford
Ryan Preece (41), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Noah Gragson (42), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Josh Berry (48), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Ryan Newman (51), Rick Ware Racing Ford
Ty Gibbs (54), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ty Dillon (77), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
Josh Bilicki (78), Live Fast Motorsports Ford

Top drivers and best bets for the All-Star Race

The two drivers with multiple All-Star wins enter the weekend with the best odds at victory according to BetMGM. Kyle Larson, who has already won on two short tracks this season is +600 for the win, while the retiring Kevin Harvick is +800. Harvick is surely hoping that driving with No. 29 on the car – his number for the first 13 seasons of his career – rather than his Stewart-Haas No. 4 will bring him luck in his final All-Star Race.

Best odds to win
• Kyle Larson +600
• Kevin Harvick +800
• Christopher Bell +900
• William Byron +900
• Joey Logano +900

Looking a little further down the field, Chase Elliott (+1200) and Ryan Blaney (+1800) are good mid-tier bets. Elliott has finished in the top 10 in each of his last five short track starts and won the All-Star Race in its only running at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway in 2020. Blaney is the event’s defending champion and typically runs well in the tight confines of Martinsville and Bristol, which most closely resemble North Wilkesboro.

NASCAR All-Star Race weather

The forecasts for Friday and Sunday are cool and clear with temperatures in the 70s, but thunderstorms could interfere with Saturday’s running. The Craftsman Truck Series is running in support at North Wilkesboro this weekend with qualifying and its race scheduled before the All-Star Race heats, which could make scheduling dicey.

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