LAS VEGAS – Justin Allgaier’s fast start to the NASCAR Xfinity Series season came to a grinding halt on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After back-to-back podium finishes at Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway and Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway to start the year, a rare engine failure relegated Allgaier to a 31st-place finish in the Boyd Gaming 300.

The Riverton, Ill., native ran inside the top 10 for much of the day, finishing seventh in the opening stage and sixth in the second stage, but was forced to the garage area on lap 120 after radioing that he felt a cylinder going away aboard his No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet.

Justin Allgaier in action during Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo)

“Unfortunately, I’m not sure what happened, but I think something broke inside the engine,” Allgaier said. “It’s just a shame. Everyone in the Hendrick engine shop works so hard and we have very few failures. Hopefully we have enough parts there that we can diagnose what happened.

“I just hate it for the BRANDT Professional Agriculture guys, everybody back at the shop and all of our partners,” he added. “We weren’t quite as good as what we needed to be to contend for the win today, but I thought we had a solid top-five car and now we don’t have anything to show for it.”

Allgaier entered Saturday’s race third in points, but his issues dropped him to seventh in the standings leaving Las Vegas. His DNF also ended a four-race run of top-10 finishes in Sin City, dating back to 2016.

The good news for Allgaier is that he’s heading to one of his best race tracks next week in ISM Raceway. The one-mile oval was the site of a victory for Allgaier with JR Motorsports in March of 2017.

In all, Allgaier has an average finish of 8.8 at the desert oval, with six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 17 Xfinity Series starts there.