The last name Deegan is well known in motorsports. Brian Deegan made a living in the world of action sports as a freestyle motocross rider in the X-Games and now has transitioned to off-road racing with the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Now, a second generation Deegan is pushing the Deegan name into the realm of pavement stock car racing. 15-year-old Hailie Deegan will be making her asphalt Late Model debut on Saturday night at California’s Madera Speedway.
Deegan, the “Dirt Princess,” will be racing for Mike Naakes in the Jr. Late Model division at Madera. Deegan will also be making her Super Late Model debut later this year for Bond Suss Racing after signing a driver development deal with Toyota Racing Development.
“It feels great being a Toyota Racing Development driver,” Deegan told Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Thursday evening. “I have so many doors open for me now to race stock cars as a career with Toyota behind me. My other sponsor is Monster Energy Drink who is now the title sponsor for NASCAR. I think it’s a great opportunity.”
The race on Saturday night will be the first in a Late Model for Deegan. She’s run a couple of test sessions at Madera and at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), but that’s it so far.
“The test went really well last weekend. We were running lap times and all of the fast kids were there and my laps were in the top three, so I think I have a good chance at finishing in the top three. That’s my goal for this weekend is finishing in the top three.”
In 2016, Deegan won the championship in the Modified Kart division in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and made some starts in an Outlaw Kart at North Carolina’s Millbridge Speedway as well as running some Legends car races at the Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway (NC).
Deegan said she has about 10 to 15 asphalt races planned in addition to running a full Pro Lite campaign with the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, as well as some go-kart and Legends car races. Basically, Deegan will be a busy girl in 2017 as she tries to balance all of her racing as well as school work and being a normal 15-year-old girl from California.
“I think the way I balance it is first I always make sure my school work is ahead of my racing,” said Deegan. “I always keep that first. I’m also always training and making sure I’m prepared for whatever race is coming up. I always want to make sure I’m the most prepared at anything. I think my real goal entering each race is being the best I can be entering it.”
The young driver has laid out a simple goal for her first year in pavement racing. She said she just wants to be consistent at each race she goes to.
“I think 2017 will be successful if maybe I can pull off a couple of wins at Madera (Speedway) in a Jr. Late Model and hopefully running up front in a Super Late Model. That’s my big goal for this year.”
Saturday’s Jr. Late Model race at Madera Speedway will be a 75-lap race featuring drivers ranging in age from 10-16 years old.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Hailie Deegan Facebook