Race Weekend Central

Down on Power, Justin Allgaier Hangs On for 10th at Vegas

LAS VEGAS ā€” The top 10 on the scoring pylon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway far from told the story of the up-and-down weekend that Justin Allgaier had.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran finished 10th in The LiUNA! for his second top 10 of the season on Saturday evening (March 2) after going down on power late in the race.

“We were down on power right there,” Allgaier told Frontstretch. “We think something was going on with the car, and we were losing power. I wasn’t able to really run pace anymore.”

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As a result, the No. 7 crew chief Jim Pohlman left Allgaier out longer than everyone else at the end of the race to try to catch a caution. Allgaier led 11 laps until he finally gave up the lead to pit for a splash of fuel on lap 180 of the 200-lap event.

“At that point when you’re down like that, the best bet is to go as long as you can and maybe catch a caution,” Allgaier said.

But due to being down on power, a caution might’ve ended up in an even worse result for Allgaier, as the field likely would’ve swallowed him up on a restart.

“I mean we knew it was going to bite us if the caution came out,” Allgaier said. “But at that point, it was kind of the bed we had to live in. If we would’ve stopped and put four tires on, I don’t think we would’ve had the pace to even finish 10th.”

There was some weather in the area with rain drops falling slightly before Allgaier’s gamble. More rain probably would’ve been the only way the strategy would’ve resulted in a win for the No. 7 team, but ultimately, the rain held off.

Instead, the race stayed green the rest of the way, and Allgaier limped home to his sixth straight Vegas top 10.

“At the end, I was basically wide open all the way around, just trying to keep pace with everybody else and still losing time,” Allgaier said. “Not ideal.”

The weekend started out with trouble for Allgaier. He had a flat right-rear tire in qualifying that nearly sent the No. 7 Chevrolet spinning. He didn’t hit anything, but it led to Allgaier starting in 36th.

The 37-year-old flew through the field, getting to seventh by the end of the first stage. He climbed even higher to finish fourth in stage two. But in the final stage was when the car started losing power.

“It’s a shame, it stinks,” Allgaier said. “But at the end of the day, it’s hard with this weekend. I mean to have the qualifying incident, go to the back, drive all the way back through the field, have the speed that we did and then just not really have anything to show for it is kind of disappointing.”

Thirty minutes after the finish, Allgaier and the team still had no idea why the car started losing power. And given they’re in the midst of the West Coast Swing, they may not for a while.

“It won’t even hardly push back to the hauler right now,” Allgaier said. “So we don’t know that if in the incident in qualifying if we broke something we didn’t realize. Or maybe we had something that was causing some of the stuff that happened in qualifying that just kind of reared its head in the race. First, I thought it was an engine maybe laying down a little bit, but we’re not really sure.

“The hard part is you have to race here and then you go straight to Phoenix, the cars are going to stay out here. So we don’t really have a good way diagnosing any of it.”

Allgaier leaves Las Vegas eighth in the point standings. But with the speed the No. 7 has shown and with Allgaier heading to one of his best tracks next ā€” he has two Phoenix wins ā€” that may be as low as the team gets in the standings for the rest of the year.

“It wasn’t for a lack of effort, and the call was the call with the circumstances we were in,” Allgaier said. “Just nothing to show.”

About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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