Deegan keeps gathering experience in challenging NASCAR Truck Series race at Las Vegas
Hailie Deegan completed the NASCAR Camping Workd Truck Series round at Las Vegas despite being involved in a late crash in Stage 3, as she continues her learning season in the championship.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the third round of the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship on Friday night, as young American upcoming star Hailie Deegan returned behind the wheel of the #1 Toter Ford truck after solid yet very unlucky performances in the previous rounds at Daytona, which cost the lady from California feasible top-10 results in her rookie season campaign.
Deegan had already competed on the Las Vegas Dirt Track in 2018 and 2019 and conquered one of her two victories in the K&N Pro Series West.
Furthermore, this would be Deegan's first 1,5 mile track this year, with only one single Truck start in a similar circuit: she had in fact finished just one position away from the Top 15 last October at Kansas City.
The BucketUp 200 event didn't saw any practice or qualifying sessions, with the whole field hitting the track for the Las Vegas weekend straight into the race event when the green flag was waved - a format that certainly is proving to be extra challenging for rookies.
GMS Racing driver Sheldon Creed led the pack in the initial phase, followed by John Hunter Nemechek. They were protagonists of most of the action throughout Stage 1.
Hunter found the gap for a move on Creed in the closing laps of stage 1 and went into P1.
Hailie Deegan fought towards the the back of the field and pitted in P27.
Stage 2 saw one single dominator: Cup Series driver Kyle Bush - also team owner - had no rivals on course for the stage victory and ended with a two-second gap from teammate John Hunter Nemechek .
Bush was looking to replicate his performance in the final stage as well, but a tire issue with 40 laps to go changed overturned the top positions and his winning expectations, allowing Bret Moffit to clinch the leadership followed by Nemechek and Parker Kligerman.
Kyle Bush's race looked compromised - but the experienced driver was again protagonist of a remarkable comeback towards the end of the Las Vegas round.
The driver-owner of the #51 Toyota gained position after position and a was helped by a caution on lap 115 to make his return at the back of the frontrunners group, just as Hunter Nemechek kept leading the action ahead Austin Hill.
At the restart, Nemechek retained the top spot but was forced to a defensive move with less that 10 laps to go, when another caution was called out.
Kyle Bush launched an attack for the victory, but his teammate Nemechek managed to take the chequered flag in P1, claiming the NCWTS round 3 win after a brillant performance.
Just like the previous two races of the season, Hailie Deegan's result was influenced by some bad luck: the 19-year old Ford driver was in fact involved in a crash on lap 96, caused by the contact between Raphael Lessard and David Gilliland at turn 1.
Both drivers spun, giving no space to react to Sheldon Creed, Austin Wayne Self, Bret Holmes, Ryan Truex and Deegan - who were all involved in the incident.
The driver of the #1 DGR Crosley truck managed to take the chequered flag nonetheless, finishing another challenging race in P28.
"I'd be lying if I said truck weren't tought." - commented Deegan.
"Going out there starting in the back with no one lap in my truck at a new track is a challenge. It takes me a whole stage just to get comfortable. I just need more laps and experience right now", she explained, highlighting the biggest issue with the NASCAR format. "Every race I’m learning new stuff that’s gonna help me in future races. This is a opportunity of a lifetime that I’m trying to take full advantage of. Very thankful for all the great people that support me."
Jennifer Jo Cobb was again behind the wheel of her #10 Chevrolet truck and finished P29 out of the 40 drivers field.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will now move to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the fourth seasonal round on March 20th.