NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr.
- 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 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Martin Truex Jr. scored the first win of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) playoffs last weekend in Las Vegas, and is hoping to make it back-to-back wins Saturday night in Richmond.
Truex won this race in the spring, and is unsurprisingly among the favorites at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
To make this week’s NASCAR Props Challenge picks, I’ll rely on betting odds to project expected driver performance, as well as race trends from the April race at Richmond Raceway.
1. Which playoff driver earns the higher finish: Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin?
This is close, but I’ll take Busch and his +300 odds to win the race over Hamlin’s +600.
2. Will all top-10 finishers be playoff drivers? Yes or No?
Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson — both +8000 — have the best betting odds to win Saturday’s race among the drivers not currently in the playoffs.
Considering neither finished top 10 in the spring, I’m not very optimistic that a non-playoff driver finishes up there.
3. Toyota has won six of the last eight Richmond races. Will Toyota win again this weekend? Yes or No?
I typically don’t like taking one manufacturer over the field, but am going to make an exception here. Toyota drivers Kyle Busch (+300), Martin Truex Jr. (+500) and Denny Hamlin (+600) are on the short list of race favorites, with Erik Jones still in the mix at +1600.
4. Clint Bowyer has three straight top 10s at Richmond. Does the streak continue? Yes or No?
Bowyer was really good here in the spring, highlighted by a third-place finish and the fifth-most fast laps run.
Still, Clint has just the 10th-best odds to win the race, which fits my projection of his performance more closely. I think he’ll hover around as a top-10 car, but I don’t see him possessing top-five speed.
As a result, it’s too rich for my blood to expect a top 10, though this answer is extremely close.
5. Which team will have the highest finisher? Chip Ganassi or Hendrick?
Despite having just two drivers compared to Hendrick’s four, both Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch are capable of running up front at Richmond, while I think Chase Elliott is the only member of his team with the speed to do that as well.
6. O/U 1.5 drivers lead at least 100 Laps?
This is a tough question because the most recent race at Richmond, which includes the package teams will run again on Saturday, saw two drivers (Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch) finish with more than 100 laps led.
On the other hand, that was the only one of the past four races with two drivers eclipsing that mark. Considering Busch barely hit that number — he led 101 laps in April — I’m taking the under.
7. O/U 11.5 lead changes?
Just like the previous answer, this question basically pits the April race with the current aero package against the historical race trends overall.
In the most recent Richmond race, there were just eight lead changes, while the eight MENCS races prior all reached at least 12 lead changes.
I’m not ready to overreact to one race’s worth of data just yet, so let’s go with history and the over.
8. Which playoff driver below the cutoff line will finish higher: Erik Jones or Kurt Busch?
Busch was better than Jones here back in April, and despite Erik’s odds (+1600) being better than Kurt’s (+2500), I still think the performance in that race will be more predictive of speed for these two drivers specifically.
9. O/U 100.5 MPH average race speed?
Three of the last four Richmond races have finished with an average race speed below 100.5 mph, including the most recent event.
10. Will the race winner hold the lead for the final 30 laps?
Each of the past two MENCS races at Richmond have seen the eventual winner out front for more than 30 laps leading to checkered flag, so I think we’ll see that again on Saturday night.