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Walsh: My NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for the Martinsville STP 500

Mar 22, 2019 12:32 PM EDT
Credit:

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick

  • NASCAR's Props Challenge game asks fans to answer 10 prop-betting questions each week, with weekly winners eligible for prizes.
  • PJ Walsh offers his Props Challenge picks and analysis for Sunday's STP 500 (2 p.m. ET, FS1) at Martinsville Speedway.

If I could only attend one sporting event venue for the rest of my life, it would be Martinsville Speedway. The track’s specifications — a flat, one-half mile speedway — leads to plenty of beating, banging and action-packed racing.

And outside of what’s happening on the track, Martinsville reminds me of Fenway Park in that walking through the gates into the grandstands feels like you’ve immediately gone 50 years into the past. No frills, no bells and whistles, just old-school racing.

I have to admit it, because I love this place so much there is a bit of sadness in me because I won’t be attending Sunday’s race, but NASCAR.com’s Props Challenge should help me fill that void because if I can’t be there for the action on the track, I’ll be sure to have plenty of action off it.

Here are my prop picks for Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET, FS1) at Martinsville Speedway.

1. The average number of lead changes at Martinsville has been 13.7 in the past six races. O/U 13.5 lead changes on Sunday?

Seven of the past 10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races at Martinsville finished with 14 or more lead changes. Let’s go over.

Answer: Over

2. The past three winners at Martinsville have not started inside the top five. Does this trend continue?

Just three drivers over the past 10 races at the paperclip won from a top-five starting spot, so I’m going with a driver who starts sixth or worse.

Answer: Yes

3. Which JTG Daugherty Racing driver will have the higher finishing position? Chris Buescher or Ryan Preece?

Buescher has been surprisingly solid over the past four races at Martinsville, securing an average finish of 17.0, which ranks 14th among all drivers. Anything can happen at this racetrack, but the numbers make Buescher the easy pick.

Answer: Buescher

4. O/U 11.5 drivers score stage points on Sunday?

The spring race last year saw just 10 drivers score stage points, while 13 drivers did in the fall. This is more of a guess than anything, but I think the fall race played out as a more “typical” Martinsville race, so I’ll grab the over.

Answer: Over

5. Will Kyle Busch win his third race in a row this Sunday?

Busch has certainly been dominant, but there’s no way you can take one driver over the field in any MENCS event. Even Busch’s odds to win the race (+160) suggest that we should take the field here.

Answer: No

6. O/U 4.5 Ford drivers finish in the top 10 at Martinsville.