NASCAR Props Challenge Picks for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2)
- 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 Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET, FS1) at Sonoma Raceway.
If you’re looking for a unique take on stock car racing, Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway is for you.
For the first time this season, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will go road racing, which means turning both left and right.
Obviously, the skills needed to perform well at road courses differ from those at traditional ovals, making both the racing and strategy quite different. With this in mind, here are my NASCAR Props Challenge picks for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
1. The last two Sonoma winners did not score any stage points? Will this trend continue? Yes or No?
Because of strategy at road courses, it makes sense for drivers to pit when they hit their fuel windows instead of trying to stay out and earn stage points.
As a result, I think the winner will once again fail to score stage points.
2. O/U 11.5 lead changes?
Over the past six races at Sonoma, just two events have finished with 12 or more lead changes.
3. Which driver will score more race points at Sonoma? Chase Elliott or Denny Hamlin?
Since 2016, Hamlin has clearly been better than Elliott at Sonoma. Denny has the better finish and average running position while running considerably more fast laps.
4. O/U 1.5 drivers lead 25 laps?
Two of the past three races at Sonoma finished with just one driver managing 25 laps led, so let’s go under.
5. Will the polesitter lead the first eight laps of the race? Yes or No?
This is just a gut pick, but since tire management means so much at Sonoma, I expect that some drivers will charge to the front while others save rubber.
Therefore, I think we’ll see more than one driver out front over the first eight laps.
6. O/U 25.5 stage points for Stewart-Haas Racing?
In last year’s race Stewart-Haas Racing drivers managed just 13 total stage points across its four drivers, which included Kurt Busch.
Busch is a better road course racer than Daniel Suarez, the current driver of SHR’s No. 41 car, so I’ll go under.
7. Which JTG Daugherty Racing driver finishes higher?
Chris Buescher hasn’t exactly been great at Sonoma throughout his Cup career, but considering this will be Ryan Preece’s first road course race at JTG Daugherty Racing means we don’t have much of a choice but to lean Buescher here.
8. O/U 27.5 race points for Jimmie Johnson?
In last year’s race, 14 drivers scored at least 28 race points. Johnson has the sixth-best average running position over the past three races at Sonoma, meaning he’s consistently been a top-10 car in recent years.
Based on the data, Johnson should be one of the 14 best cars Sunday.
9. Only six drivers entered in the race have won at previously at Sonoma? Will Sunday produce a first-time Sonoma winner?
Chase Elliott (+600) is the only driver with better than 10-1 odds to win the race who hasn’t yet won at Sonoma Raceway. Since the majority of the favorites are all past winners, I’ll say no.
10. Will Sunday’s race winner have O/U 2.5 pit stops?
Track position is so important at road courses that I expect the eventual winner to do everything he can to get — and stay — out front, including making just two pit stops.