NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (78) celebrates after winning the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky 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 Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Kentucky Speedway.
After unique — and crazy — pack racing at Daytona, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) returns to a more familiar setup with Kentucky Speedway’s 1.5-mile layout.
The MENCS has already visited six 1.5-mile racetracks, the last three of which were run at night. Kansas was scheduled as a traditional night race, while the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte started around 6 p.m. ET, but finished under the lights.
The race run at Chicagoland Speedway two weeks ago was scheduled to be a day race, but rain pushed the green flag back to approximately 6:30 p.m. ET.
This is important because the cars drive differently in the heat of the day compared to the cooler night temperatures.
And with Saturday’s race at Kentucky also scheduled for an evening start, we can lean on those past three night races to make our NASCAR Props Challenge picks for the Quaker State 400.
1. Only three active drivers have won a Cup race at Kentucky. Will we see a first-time Kentucky winner this weekend? Yes or No?
Based on betting odds this is surprisingly close, but when there is not a clear edge, I’ll always lean toward the field against just three drivers.
2. O/U 18.5 lead changes?
In eight MENCS races at Kentucky, 2011 was the only event which finished with more than 17 lead changes.
3. Which former Kentucky winner will finish higher? Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr.?
While Truex and Busch have put up similar numbers — in terms of average running position and fast laps — at Kansas, Charlotte and Chicago this season, I’ll go with Truex as the two-time defending race winner.
4. O/U 13.5 stage points for Kevin Harvick?
An average of 1.5 drivers have scored more than 13 stage points over the past two races at Kentucky. While Harvick has been the dominant driver at 1.5-mile racetracks this season despite no victories, there are simply too many variables to “expect” that type of performance.
5. Which Hendrick Motorsports driver scores more points? Chase Elliott or William Byron?
Byron has certainly improved at 1.5-mile racetracks throughout the course of the season, but Elliott has been a cut above his teammate.
Alex Bowman and Harvick are the only drivers to hold better average running positions than Elliott over the past three races on this track type, with Chase clicking off 57 fast laps compared to Byron’s 24 over that span.
6. O/U 21.5 lead lap finishers?
The past three Kentucky races have finished with 15.3 cars on the lead lap.
7. Will Saturday’s winner lead the last 10 laps?
The races at Kansas, Charlotte and Chicago all saw lead changes within the final 10 laps, so I lean no.
8. Brad Keselowski has an average finish of 11.4 at Kentucky. Will he finish in the top 10 this weekend?
Not only does Keselowski run well at Kentucky, but he owns the fourth-best average running position at the past three 1.5-mile night races, including a win at Kansas.
9. O/U 6.5 different leaders?
Three of the past four Kentucky races were led by at least seven drivers, so let’s take the over.
10. At least five drivers will score 42 or more points: Yes or No?
Since stage racing was introduced prior to the 2017 season, each Kentucky race has finished with exactly four drivers scoring at least 42 points.