Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver Hailie Deegan will make her superspeedway debut with Venturini Motorsports in Friday night’s ARCA Menards Series’ (ARCA) General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 at Pocono Raceway.
Taking on Pocono’s daunting 2.5-mile triangular surface, Deegan, 17, will unveil a new car design when she takes the wheel of VMS’ No.55 iK9 Toyota Camry.
Coming up through the ranks on short tracks, the Temecula, CA native had her first big track experience on Wednesday during ARCA’s open test session.
“I had a lot of fun getting acclimated with the car and track today,” said Deegan. “Honestly my first lap was a little scary. I’ve never gone that fast ever before. Being on that big of a track is hard. When you’re going down the backstretch you just feel the air on the nose of the car just twitching. That’s something I have to get use to and it’s going to take time. But I think where we’re at right now is a good start. I think we progressively keep getting better and we’ll be in a good place for the race.”
Making the transition from short tracks to superspeedways will take experience. Deegan believes in the process.
“I think learning the drafting process is going to take a lot of work and finesse to get used to. Minimizing my mistakes is gonna be priority to keep us in the game. I honestly don’t know where I’ll stack up. I’m not expecting myself to go out there and win against guys like Christian and Michael – those guys are really good speedway racers. I think it’s going to take time for me to get better and better. I’ll give it everything I have.”
During her series’ debut two weeks ago at Toledo Speedway, Deegan’s day was cut short and finished 18th after getting taken out in an early race accident not of her making.
One of the sport’s most compelling driver prospects in the sport today, Deegan etched her name in NASCAR’s record books last year becoming the first female to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series event in over 30-years. She backed up her record setting performance earlier this season grabbing more headlines after picking up her second career victory at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The daughter of legendary X Games Motocross giant Brian Deegan, Hailie began her driving career at the age of eight racing dirt on four wheels. She’s the only female driver in the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro series as well as Regional series to win Championships in 2013, 2015, 2016 along with being the only youth ever to win the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro Series Driver of the Year award (2016).
Prior to Friday’s race Hailie will join his VMS teammates Christian Eckes, Michael Self and Harrison Burton for an exclusive Pocono Raceway Kids’ Club appearance on the Fan Stage from 2:00-2:30 PM EDT.
Practice for the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 starts Friday, May 31 at 9AM ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 12 noon. The race is scheduled to start at 5:45PM ET and will be televised live on FOX SPORTS 2 with a same day replay on FOX SPORTS 1 at 8PM ET.
-Venturini Motorsports Press Release and Photo