Hailie Deegan Makes History Again - Racer X Exhaust
Although she is just 17 years old, Hailie Deegan, the daughter of Metal Mulisha co-founder Brian Deegan, is quickly making history in racing. On Saturday night at Meridian Speedway in Idaho, Deegan became the first female to win a K&N Pro Series West race. The K&N Pro Series is essentially the stepping stone to NASCAR's three main national series—Camping World Trucks, Xfinity, and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup. To put this in moto terms, it would be like getting a win in the A class at Loretta's.
She is the first woman to win a high-level touring NASCAR series since Shawna Robinson won three Dash Series races across 1988 and ‘89.
Earlier this month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Deegan became the first female to earn a pole award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. She already has a driver development deal in place with Toyota.
“Oh my god,” Deegan said in victory lane after her win, according to NASCAR.com. “This has to be the best day of my life right here. It doesn’t get any better than this. People don’t understand how many days, how many hours I’ve put into this. How much work I’ve done to get to this moment. It’s just amazing … this is the happiest day of my life. We did it.”
Deegan accomplished the feat in dramatic fashion, passing Cole Rouse on the white-flag lap in the NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208.
“I was in bed last night thinking, ‘If it comes down, last lap, I’m in second, I’m a car length off of him, what am I going to do?'” Deegan said. “And I found that Turn 1 spot. I knew what exactly I had to do there. I was doing it to some other people just getting right under them to get them a little light to get them, not wrecking loose, nothing crazy, but enough to just get a little under them and make the pass happen. We did that. I knew exactly what I had to do the last lap. I did it, we executed, and we made it happen.”
Rouse, her teammate with Bill McAnally Racing, didn't quite see it the same way.
“We were going into turn one … and she doesn’t lift and drives into me, gets me completely sideways,” Rouse said, according to Autoweek. “We were going to win that race if it was run clean, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I’m just going to go into the next two races, not give her any slack and we’re going to win both of those. It was a good night, but I don’t really care about second, honestly.”
Deegan has five top-five finishes and ten top 10s this season through 12 (of 14) rounds. She is also now at the top of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award standings in K&N West.
While the bigger picture story is being left further in the background, it's obvious this victory means much more than just one win for one driver. Hailie is not only the most promising female prospect in stock car racing in quite some time, she also packs the marketing might of her father, Brian, who knows quite a bit about building a brand. Safe to say all of NASCAR could really, really benefit from Hailie becoming a star at the highest level in the future.
Hailie started her career in short-course off-road racing, but has proven a quick study on asphalt. If her current trajectory continues, the Deegan name could be even bigger than ever some time in the future.