NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Sunday’s Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) takes the checkered flag during the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway,
- 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 Camping World 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Chicagoland Speedway.
Unlike recent weeks in which the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) visited unique tracks like Pocono, Michigan and Sonoma, we should have a solid amount of data to help make our Props Challenge selections this weekend.
For the first time since the Coca-Cola 600 in May, the MENCS heads to a 1.5-mile racetrack for Sunday’s Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
To make my NASCAR Props Challenge picks this week, I’ll be leaning heavily on performance from the five previous races run at 1.5-mile tracks (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas, Kansas and Charlotte), as well as historical race trends from Chicagoland Speedway.
1. Will a different driver win Stage 1, Stage 2 and the race? Yes or No?
There have been only two MENCS races at Chicagoland since stage racing was introduced, so there’s not much of a sample of data here to analyze.
As a result, I’m going with my gut and will say that Sunday’s race follows last year’s with different drivers winning Stage 1, Stage 2 and the race.
2. O/U 17.5 lead changes?
This average is skewed by 24 lead changes in last year’s MENCS race at Chicagoland, while the previous three races finished with 12, 17 and 17, respectively.
3. Will Sunday’s winner start inside the top five?
Over the last 10 Cup races at Chicagoland, the winner has started inside the top five just once — 2017 race winner Martin Truex Jr. started third.
4. O/U 35.5 race points for Kyle Larson?
In last year’s race, six drivers scored at least 36 race points, including Larson who finished with a race-high 52 points.
However, Larson has really struggled on this track type so far this season, ranking just 18th in average running position at 1.5-mile racetracks.
5. Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott will each have the best finish for their organizations. Yes or No?
While both Harvick and Elliott have been excellent at 1.5-mile racetracks this season, I just can’t expect each to score the best finishes for their respective teams.
6. O/U 2.5 drivers lead 35 laps?
Each of the last two MENCS races at Chicago finished with at least three drivers leading 35 laps.
7. Which driver scores more points in this race? Ryan Blaney or Erik Jones?
If you look at just average finish at 1.5-milers this season, the easy answer seems to be Jones. However, despite the better average finish, Blaney has the better average running position with considerably more fast laps and laps led.
Jones has put together the better finishes, but Blaney has actually been the faster driver.
8. O/U 33.5 stage points for Joe Gibbs Racing?
With Martin Truex Jr. now at Joe Gibbs Racing, the team has two drivers who can dominate this race (Truex and Kyle Busch), with two others (Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin) very capable of running up front and earning even more stage points.
9. Which Richard Childress Racing driver will finish higher? Austin Dillon or Daniel Hemric?
This is extremely close and basically a question of which driver won’t be as bad as the other. While neither driver has been very good at the 1.5-mile tracks this season, Dillon has the slightest advantage in average finish, average running position and fast laps.
10. O/U 16.5 lead-lap finishers?
Two of the past three races at Chicago have finished with fewer than 17 lead-lap finishers. There’s an argument to be made that the new aero package should keep the cars more closely bunched together, but I can’t rely on that until I see an actual race at this track.