By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
A late-race caution in the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ended Justin Allgaier’s hopes of his first Vegas win.
The JR Motorsports driver was leading when a four-car accident brought out the caution. Jesse Iwuji broke loose in Turn 4, collecting Stefan Parsons and Ryan Vargas in the process. The caution, with under 30 laps to go, removed fuel mileage from the equation.
Allgaier led the field onto pit road in his No. 7 Brandt Chevrolet Camaro SS. On the restart, his JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson jumped to the outside. In Turn 1, Gragson cruised by, leaving Allgaier in the middle of a three-wide battle with Ty Gibbs and Austin Hill. Another quick caution put the NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran in the second row on the restart.
Allgaier lined up behind Gragson. However, less than a lap after the race went green, another accident brought out the caution. The race restarted for the final time with five laps to go. While Allgaier pushed Gragson, Gibbs got the better jump. The JR Motorsports duo fell behind the Toyota Racing driver. While Gragson and Gibbs battled, Allgaier slipped further back. When a race-ending caution waved, the 35-year-old was fifth.
“Long day,” admitted Allgaier. “In practice we really struggled on the short run and that held true in qualifying and even in the race. We finally got some track position, and I thought the car felt really good. Drove up there to the front. Once I was out there, I was able to set the pace. I knew we were going to get a caution; I could feel it. Really proud of JR Motorsports today, we all had fast Camaros, just didn’t have what we needed.
“We’ve led a lot of laps here and haven’t been able to seal the deal either. It’s disappointing when you’re in that moment, when you have speed, especially for us on the long run. We were really able to push the pace there and the laps were ticking away. A lot of good things coming back here in the fall.”
Overall, Allgaier had an up and down day at Las Vegas. He qualified 16th before falling back in Stage 1. It wasn’t until the end of Stage 2 that Allgaier broke back into the top-10. In three stints as the leader, he led 62 laps. Allgaier also ran the fastest lap of the race on lap 97.
The fifth-place finish is Allgaier’s first top-five of the 2022 Xfinity Series season. It is also the 113th top-five of his NASCAR career.
Three races into the season and the Riverton, IL native is fourth in the points standings, 24 behind leader Gragson. He’s 50-points ahead of the cutoff, held by Brandon Jones.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ the Tires.