Deegan and Zamora end in style 2019 K&N Pro Series campaigns
Hailie Deegan conquered a top-5 finish after a remarkable comeback in the K&N West Series season finale, as Brittney Zamora ended an outstanding rookie season with another positive result.
Phoenix IMS Raceway hosted the final round of the NASCAR K&N Pro West Series 2019.
At the end of the qualifyng session, several cars were penalized after failing technical inspections, including the Toyotas of Deegan and of her teammate Derek Kraus, both forced to take the race start from P17 and P16 respectively.
Other NAPA Team member driver Brittney Zamora started from P7, as her qualifying time was confirmed without penalties.
Both Hailie Deegan and Derek Kraus had good starts at the green flag, moving up in the opening laps to P10 and P11.
Brittney Zamora immediately had to watch herself from the attacks of her teammates and, after some resolute defensive moves, she was forced to give up some places to Kraus, Deegan and Ty Gibbs.
The race went on relatively uneventful until the first yellow flag was waved on lap 41.
16 years old driver Sam Mayer, starting from the pole, retained the leadership after the restart and continued his dominant initial stint over the rest of the group. Hailie Deegan kept running in P11, while Brittney Zamora fought for fourteenth.
A couple of laps later, the second caution of the day was called out and the race was stopped for the half race pit stops.
The second stage was defined by many yellow flags and compelling restarts.
At the restart of the caution caused by the #18 car hitting the wall, a new race leader guided the group for the first time since the initial green flag: Riley Herbst managed to pass the temporary undisputed dominator Sam Meyer.
Running in sixth during the restart, Drew Dollars spun causing another caution.
With 28 laps to go, Deegan found herself in eighth, after the young girl had won an exciting side-by-side battle with one of her biggest rivals this season, Jagger Jones.
Two laps later the fifth yellow flag waved on the IMS Raceway.
With a fantastic move on the inside, Ty Gibbs conquered the leadeship at the restart, while few seconds later, a contact between Sam Mayer and Ty Majeski forced the latter into the wall: the race was thus interrputed again for another caution.
With 16 laps to go, Sam Mayer reclaimed the lead thanks to a prompt restart; Hailie Deegan completed her remarkable comeback by gaining fourth place. She tried to advance to the top-three by closing the gap with Corey Heim, but Derek Kraus took advantge from that fight to move past Deegan.
In the last 10 laps of the race, Drew Dollars and Trevor Huddleston spun, causing another caution. After a difficul initial stint of race, Brittney Zamora took advantage from the many yellow flag restarts to finish sixth, adding one more very positive result to her outstanding 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro West rookie season.
"Came back from losing wheel weights and fighting a bad vibration, brakes going to the floor and having ignition box issues, which all put me 19th and 2 laps down by the halfway break. A lot of work was done in the last 50 laps and it definitely showed" - wrote Zamora on
her social media feeds after the race.
17 year old Ty Gibbs won the season finale round, followed by Sam Mayer and Corey Heim.
Derek Kraus ended in fourth place, becoming 2019 K&N West champion.
Hailie Deegan added another top-5 finish to her season, proving to be one of the big upcoming names of the NASCAR scene.
The 18 year-old Californian driver fought for the championship title until the very final seasonal rounds, but was influenced by some bad luck in a couple of races that eventually costed her the big prize. She ultimately finished third in the standings, the highest result ever by a woman in the K&N Pro series history.
"Ended up pulling off a top 5 last night after having to start at the rear. Definitely one of my favourite race tracks i've been to all year. Who knew restarts could be this fun and sketchy at the same time!" posted Deegan.
Deegan's 2020 NASCAR schedule have not been confirmed yet, but rumors report one more step towards a major NASCAR series for the young female talent.
Ph credits: Bill McAnally Racing