Hailie Deegan made a name for herself in recent years competing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series on dusty dirt all over the West Coast. Now, the daughter of legendary X-Games athlete Brian Deegan is ready to make a name for herself racing on asphalt all over the country. The 16-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Temecula, California will take a big step in her journey by making her NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on Sunday, February 11.
Bill McAnally Racing will be housing Deegan’s No. 19 Toyota Camry that she will drive full-time on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West circuit in 2018. In addition to her full season on the West Coast, Deegan will also be running a select number of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races including the season opener at New Smyrna.
“I’m feeling pretty good," Deegan told Speed51.com ahead of her first start. "I know there’s a lot of big people racing it and a lot of people who have raced the series before for quite a few years, and I know that it’s my first year coming in but I think that I’ll be pretty good.”
As intimidating as being a rookie may be, Deegan isn’t feeling the pressure. She is ready to see what the season has in store for her and she’s more than ready to plow her way through any troubles laid upon her season. While her full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series won’t begin until March 15, she's excited to get things underway.
“I feel pretty confident. Not confident that I’ll be the best one out there, but I feel confident that I’ll be able to run the pace," Deegan stated.
To prepare for her new adventure into a totally different realm of racing, Deegan is putting in the work to help her development both on and off of the track.
“Honestly, just getting laps in Late Models, any car that I really can, Super Late Models. I’ve been practicing a lot and just testing the K&N car," she explained. "Even when I’m not racing, off the track I’m training and working out for the longer races.”
Being a part of a racing team with a panel of drivers capable of winning the championship is a blessing for Deegan as she prepares for her rookie season. Not only does she have her crew to lean on as she broadens her skill set, but she has her two teammates Cole Rouse and Derek Kraus to help her.
“My teammates have been really helpful when they’re telling me what to do," Deegan said. "It’s really good because my teammate Cole Rouse has raced the K&N Series before so he knows all the tracks and the setups.”
For Deegan, Rouse has been of great help to the start of her flourishing NASCAR career.
“It’s really good, I always go to him for information. He really helps me out a lot.”
When thinking about her 2018 season as a whole, Deegan is looking forward to a busy schedule that will include 41 race weekends between the dirt and asphalt. Like many drivers, she’s anxiously waiting for the season to begin this Sunday night in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
-By Kendra Adams, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent - @2KendraAdams
-Photo credit: Speed51.com