NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denny Hamlin
- 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 the Drydene 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Dover.
The first three races of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) playoffs are in the books, with Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Aric Almirola failing to advance to the Round of 12.
The postseason continues Sunday at Dover, where Martin Truex Jr. earned a victory back in May.
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 season’s previous race at Dover, which is the only event at the track using the current MENCS aero package.
1. Will a Hendrick Motorsports driver finish in the top four: Yes or No?
While Alex Bowman, William Byron and Jimmie Johnson can work their ways into the top four, Chase Elliott is the Hendrick driver with the best chance.
But “expecting” one of these drivers to crack the top four over Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., etc. is too rich for my blood.
2. O/U 7.5 playoff drivers finish in the top 10?
Eight current playoff drivers scored top 10s back in May. In addition, Erik Jones is the only non-playoff driver with better than 30-1 odds to win Sunday’s race, so I’m taking the over.
3. Which playoff driver will finish higher: Denny Hamlin or Joey Logano?
At the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, Hamlin’s 12-1 odds are slightly better than Logano’s 14-1.
Just as the odds suggest, this is incredibly close for me but I’ll lean with Vegas and Denny.
4. Will the same driver win Stage 1 and 2?
At Dover earlier this season, Joey Logano won Stage 1, but failed to score any points in Stage 2. Conversely, Martin Truex Jr., who failed to finish among the top 10 in Stage 1, won the second stage.
5. O/U 1.5 drivers lead at least 125 laps?
Both Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. led more than 125 laps when the MENCS last visited Dover. The sample is small, but it’s all we have with this aero package.
6. Which driver will finish higher: Chris Buescher or Ricky Stenhouse Jr.?
While Buescher had a better finish than Stenhouse in the spring, Ricky actually had the faster car, spending 102 laps inside the top 15 as opposed to Buescher’s 13 laps.
7. O/U 125.5 MPH average race speed?
Similar to question No. 5, I don’t love leaning on a single race to determine my answer, but there’s frankly not much else to use considering the MENCS introduced the current aero package prior to the 2019 season.
The May race finished with an average speed of 127.242 mph, so that’s our answer.
8. Which team has the highest finisher: Stewart-Haas Racing or Team Penske?
For me, this really comes down to SHR’s Kevin Harvick vs. Penske’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Sure, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer or Daniel Suarez could sneak in there for a great finish for SHR, as could Ryan Blaney for Team Penske.
But Harvick, Logano and Kez are the three who should contend for top 5s and wins.
Last race at Dover, Harvick finished fourth compared to Logano’s seventh and Keselowski’s 12th, but the Penske drivers combined to lead 74 laps.
Harvick led one.
Pick: Team Penske
9. O/U 15.5 lead changes?
Seven of the past 10 Dover races have finished with 15 or fewer lead changes, including in May, which is important since it included the current aero package.
10. Kyle Larson has an 8.0 average finish at Dover. Does he finish in the top 10 on Sunday: Yes or No?
Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the only drivers with better odds to win on Sunday than Larson’s 6-1.
Larson also finished third here in May, which included the third-best average running position, so that run wasn’t a fluke.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver should easily have top-10 speed, so I expect him to finish there as well.