NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: A view of the fireworks display after the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International 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 Saturday's Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at Daytona.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night for its traditional Fourth of July shootout under the lights.
With Daytona comes excitement, yet unpredictability. This provides an incredible viewing experience, but a much more difficult environment for projecting how the race will play out.
To make my NASCAR Props Challenge picks this week, I’ll be leaning heavily on performance from recent races run at Daytona — specifically the July races held at Daytona as opposed to the season-opening Daytona 500.
1. Will Saturday’s race winner be decided by a last lap pass? Yes or No?
This is completely a gut-feel pick, but with the playoffs fast approaching and drivers getting desperate for wins, I expect calamity late in Saturday’s race … especially on the last lap.
2. O/U 27.5 lead changes?
It’s important to remember that the July race at Daytona is 400 miles, compared to February’s Daytona 500. This has a major effect on what we can expect in terms of number of lead changes.
Looking at previous races, just one of the past seven July Daytona races has exceeded 27.5 lead changes.
3. Will the race winner also win a stage? Yes or No?
While stage racing has been around for only two years, neither of those two winners at Daytona in July (Erik Jones in 2018 and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2017) won stages.
4. Which three-car team will have the highest finishing driver? Team Penske or Front Row?
According to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are co-favorites to win the race at 8-1.
This is an easy answer.
Pick: Team Penske
5. O/U 4.5 drivers lead 10 laps?
Since stage racing was introduced prior to the 2017 season, each of the two Daytona July races has finished with at least five drivers leading double-digit laps.
6. Which two-car team scores more points at Daytona? Chip Ganassi or Roush Fenway?
This is close, so I’m going to lean on betting odds. By taking Chip Ganassi drivers, we get Kurt Busch (14-1) and Kyle Larson (25-1) vs. Roush Fenway’s Stenhouse Jr. (18-1) and Ryan Newman (40-1).
Pick: Chip Ganassi
7. Which driver scores more points? Michael McDowell or David Ragan?
I love McDowell at Daytona. In fact, I bet him at 200-1 to win the Daytona 500 before he came up just a bit short in fifth place.
Ragan is a very accomplished superspeedway racer as well, but I like McDowell here.
8. Will the race winner start inside the top 10? Yes or No?
Three of the last four Coke Zero Sugar 400 winners started inside the top 10, so I lean yes.
9. O/U 13.5 different drivers score stage points?
Fifteen drivers scored stage points in this race last year, while 16 drivers managed them in 2017.
10. Will Saturday’s race finish in NASCAR Overtime?
This is correlated with my answer to question No. 1. This is truly a race that anyone can win, which is crucial for drivers who have not yet locked up a spot in the playoffs.
As a result, I expect plenty of aggressive driving late in the race, which should lead to cautions in the final laps and NASCAR overtime.