NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Saturday’s Bristol Night Race
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece (47) and driver Chase Elliott (9)
- 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 Saturday's Bristol Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) heads to the mountains of Tennessee for a showdown under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bristol, a half-mile, highly-banked concrete oval, provides plenty of side-by-side racing that results in plenty of beating and banging, wrecks and hot tempers.
To make this weekend’s NASCAR Props Challenge picks, I’ll look at recent races at Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as historical trends on how these races tend to play out.
1. Kyle and Kurt Busch have won the last four Bristol races. Which brother scores more race points?
Bristol is arguably Kurt Busch’s best track historically, but this is an easy answer for me.
Kyle has won three of the past four races in Thunder Valley, and opened as the heavy +250 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
Pick: Kyle Busch
2. Does the Stage 1 winner lead O/U 85.5 laps in that stage?
It’s important to remember that Saturday’s race at Bristol consists of 500 laps (not miles) around the track’s half-mile circuit. As a result, a car out front can quickly hoard laps led under green flag conditions.
Considering that the first stage is 125 laps, I can easily see one driver getting out front for at least 86 laps before taking the Stage 1 victory.
3. Does the Stage 2 winner earn stage points in both stages?
In each of the past three Bristol MENCS races, the Stage 2 winner earned points in Stage 1 as well.
4. The race winner leads O/U 225.5 laps?
Since stage racing was introduced prior to the 2017 season, no winning driver has eclipsed 225 laps led at Bristol.
In fact, the most laps an eventual winner has led over that span was 156 (Kyle Busch in August of 2017).
5. Which playoff bubble driver finishes higher? Jimmie Johnson or Ryan Newman?
Johnson is currently 40-1 to win Saturday night’s race while Newman is 100-1. Let’s lean on the odds here.
6. Will either Chip Ganassi driver, Kurt Busch or Kyle Larson, be the highest finishing Chevrolet?
Kyle Larson (8-1) is easily the top Chevy in terms of betting odds, with Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott next in line at 20-1.
With Chip Ganassi Racing we get the top Chevy and two of the top three.
7. O/U 40.5 race points for Joey Logano?
Since 2017 — when stage racing began at Bristol — Logano has reached at least 41 race points in three of five races, including earlier this season with the current race package.
8. O/U 20.5 lead changes?
Similar to my answer in question No. 2, the laps go by so quickly at Bristol that there’s not a lot of time for drivers to swap the lead.
The past 10 Bristol races have averaged 18 lead changes per event, so I’m taking the under.
9. Which Stewart-Haas Racing driver will finish higher? Clint Bowyer or Daniel Suarez?
Bowyer dominated his Stewart-Hass Racing teammate in every meaningful statistical category over the past three Bristol races, including average finish (7.0 vs. 12.3), average running position (8.0 vs. 14.0, laps led (144 vs. 5) and fast laps (74 vs. 25).
10. Saturday’s winner will start from outside the top 10? Yes or no?
While Kyle Busch did take the checkered flag in April from the 17th starting position, Bristol historically favors those starting in the top 10.
In fact, over the past 15 races here, just five winners came from outside of the top 10.