Another top 10 finish for Deegan at Kansas
ARCA top racer Hailie Deegan made it back into the top ten at Kansas Speedway after enduring a couple of unlucky rounds.
The ARCA Menards series continued its run this week and headed to Kansas Speedway for the eighth round of the 2020 season.
After a very promising streak of positive results collected in the initial races, DGR Crosley's star Hailie Deegan endured two unlucky rounds in the past weeks.
The 19 year-old Californian lady had already competed before at Kansas Speedway, as she finished eighth from a 12th starting position in last year's season finale.
"Kansas is really fun." - she explained before the event. "It's the first mile-and-a-half track I ever raced on. It's got tight walls on exit, so we want to make sure our Monster Energy Ford is not tight. I think we have a good piece to work with based on how we baselined at Kentucky, our first intermediate track we raced this year with DGR-Crosley."
"We should have a good set-up. We are kind of perfecting that set-up right now to bring it to Kansas. Hopefully we have a good run and win soon."- added Deegan.
Due to the new starting procedures, Deegan took the start from the third row and in sixth place based on owner points, as Riley Herbs was on pole, followed by Venturini Motorsports' Micheal Self.
The #4 Ford Fusion driver had a good reaction under the green flag and immediately moved up to fourth. Polesitter Riley Herbst had a good getaway too, while behind him, Self fought against Bret Holmes for P2.
On lap 2, Hailie Deegan tried to attack Ryan Repko's third place, but was forced a bit wide and lost a position, dropping to sixth.
Herbst and Holmes gained a consistent 3-second advantage from the rest of the field, but on lap 11, Bret Holmes had closed the gap before the race was stopped for the first caution of the night, caused by Russ Lane who had a big impact with the wall in Turn 2.
At the restart, the battle for the lead was again just as lit-up: Holmes and Herbst went side-by-side, with the #23 driver advancing to the first spot provisionally.
Behind them, Hailie Deegan overtook Ryan Repko for P5.
On lap 23, one of the most anticipated race protagonists Micheal Self suffered a power loss and dropped to eighth position, just as Deegan - taking advantage from the championship contender's bad luck - moved up to fourth with a 3-second gap from Heim's third place.
Ahead, both Riley Herbst and Bret Holmes continued their dominant performance and kept commanding the race.
Ryan Repko started to put pressure again on Deegan, but the first race break stopped the action on lap 31.
The battle between Hailie Deegan and Ryan Repko continued after the the restart, while Corey Heim interrupted the Herbst/Holmes supremacy when he took Herbst's second position and slotted right behind the leader Bret Holmes.
When the race appeared to have settled for the front-running positions - drama erupted and influenced Deegan's positive run up until that moment: an aggressive Drew Dollar left no space during a side-by-side action which resulted in the two drivers making contact. Deegan, very close to the wall, saved it masterfully and remained in the race, dropping to ninth.
The race then came to a standstill before the action reappeared on lap 60, when Hailie Deegan passed Gray for eight, gaining a position just before the second and last race break: thanks to his commanding run, Bret Holmes stopped has a leader, leading Heims in second, Repko in third and Self in fourth.
At the final restart, Hailie Deegan made up one more position to advance into seventh. Ryan Repko had a great reaction as well and placed himself right behind the leader Holmes, while for the second time in the race, Micheal Self's car suffered a loss of power.
The DGR Crosley's lady attempted a late comeback through the field, but Derek Griffith, who had previously shown skillfull defense driving while battling Drew Dollar, overtook Deegan.
With 30 laps to go, the fight for second place saw Heim passing Ryan Repko.
Micheal Self, who was running without much pressure following his technical issues, made a mistake and touched the wall, allowing Drew Dollar to close in on the championship standings but without a position swap at the top.
The Kansas round finished with an outstanding last lap fight for second between Heim and Repko, with the #20 car coming out on top after the duel, behind Holmes.
Corey Heim was also passed in the final stages - a move that costed him the top-three.
After a P3 at Iowa and a P2 in Kentucky, Bret Holmes scored an important victory with a very convincing performance.
Hailie Deegan finished P9 and is now fourth in the championship standings after the first 8 rounds, 34 points behind championship leader Michael Self and just 5 points from third-placed Dollar.
Bret Holmes, thanks to his own series of positive results, cut down the points' gap and now sees himself only nine points adrift Self.
"Tonight was a struggle at Kansas." - commented Hailie Deegan after the round. "By about halfway through the race, my car was super loose and we lost track position after some contact with Drew Dollar. We also got damage on the very first restart of the race. We worked on it on both the breaks, but when the end went caution free, it was definitely tough to make any gains. After the last two weeks I'll take a top 10, but it's not where I want to be at this point in the season."
Toledo Speedway will host the next round of the ARCA Menards 2020 season on Friday July 31st.