Friday, September 14, 2018

Hailie Deegan making #NASCAR History Quickly

Hailie Deegan making #NASCAR History Quickly

As the First Female Pole Winner in K&N History; She is Progressing Rapidly in her Rookie Season

Hailie Deegan is finding her way in her first full season running a stock car, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. (NGP)
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Rookie Hailie Deegan (NGP)

If you were not paying attention to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West battling it out in the dirt last night; you missed quite a show. While ARCA points leader Sheldon Creed drove his way to his first K&N Pro Series win, second-place finisher Hailie Deegan was more than impressive.

The rookie from Temecula, California recently explained “I feel like coming out of the gate, we were pretty strong,” (RE: her 2018 season with Bill McAnally Racing). “We kept getting better and better each race. We started with top 10’s, then top fives, then top threes. And I felt like we had a pretty good roll going and some good finishes. But the last couple races we haven’t had the best of luck. Getting wrecked a couple times, spun out on the last lap. Some things I can’t control, some crashes where I just get piled into that I can’t help. Little things that I feel like have ruined a couple good finishes for us.”

Deegan has a plethora of dirt experience in off-road racing and it showed last night. After being quickest in practice, the seventeen-year-old aptly nicknamed “Dirt Princess” laid down her history-making circuit on her eighth of twelve in the third and final group qualifying session! She beat another dirt specialist, NASCAR Xfinity Star Christopher Bell who qualified seventh and Brendan Gaughan who qualified eleventh. (She also won her Heat Race)

Hailie Deegan Earned The First Pole By A Female In K&N Pro Series History
Hailie Deegan Earned The First Pole By A Female
In K&N Pro Series History (Nigel Kinrade, NKP)

“I’m so amped,” an elated Deegan after winning her first pole said. “The dirt track, I was hoping it’d be my niche, and it just so happened to be. I’m so pumped. I’ve had some bad luck the last couple races and I feel like we’re getting out of that. Everything’s falling into place. So hopefully we can pull off the win tonight.”

Prior to Ms. Deegan’s pole, the best starting position for a female in K&N Pro Series history was held by Canadian Dominique Van Wieringen, who started second three times in the K&N Pro Series East in 2016. 

Hailie took the green flag for the 'Star Nursery 100' at approximately 8 p.m and led for thirteen laps. The NASCAR Next driver experienced a shifter issue midway through the race which forced her to fall back outside the top-ten. Excitingly after her team worked on the problem during the halfway break, the No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota came back to life.

“In the end we fought back,” she said. “I think with another lap or two, we definitely could have had him (race winner Creed). … I knew I was in the best position to strike. I expected Sheldon to overdrive the first corner a little more, but he’s good driver, he’s done this before, he’s raced ARCA on dirt. He knows to protect that last corner. He knew what do to and drove a smart race.”

This writer is becoming weary of hearing how an ‘up-and-comer’ is to be the next ‘good’ female driver. Haile Deegan will do better than that. NASCAR Race Mom predicts, with the right amount of backing and coaching this driver will emerge one of the best of all drivers.

Fans had the rare opportunity to meet some of NASCAR’s top stars as part of the K&N West autograph session last night — including Monster Energy Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch. NRM hopes that these guys were paying attention to Ms. Deegan’s stellar on-track performance. 

Proud PaPa

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