NASCAR star Hailie Deegan made her debut in the all-star SRX Superstar Racing Experience series, scoring a second place at Knoxville - just one night after competing in the NASCAR Truck round at Nashville.
It was a busy week for the brightest female talent in stock car racing, Hailie Deegan, who competing in two different series back to back: on Friday night, it was the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Nashville - where she is racing full time in her rookie season - and on Saturday it was time for her debut in the brand-new SRX Superstars Racing Experience at Knoxville Raceway.
Racing for David Gilliland Racing in the Truck series, Deegan made her first start at Nashville Superspeedway after a solid round last time out at Texas, until a tire puncture in the final laps took her out of contention for a potential top-ten finish. The 19-year old, in fact, after a challenging start of the season due to not being able to log laps in practice and qualifying, but as her experience built, she was closer and closer to a top-10 ever since.
The 13th place at Charlotte and Kansas City represent so far her best result in the series.
The Californian secured a P14 qualifying time and ran with good pace in the initial phases of the race despite a loss of power in her truck around the 20th lap. In Stage 1, a strong performance by former Deegan's teammate and title rival Derek Kraus granted him the stage win, while Deegan ended her run in 22nd.
Deegan was steadily around the top 20 throughout the entire second stage, but continued to struggle with her truck balance that she described as loose.
Chandler Smith took the lead of the pack at the wheel of the #18 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck and won Stage 2 after a caution on lap 78 that interrupted the action.
Hailie Deegan moved up a couple of positions after the restart and stopped in 20th place before the final stint.
On lap 111, a caution was called out when she was running in P29; she stayed out and recovered two further positions, placing the #1 Ford in 27th at the restart.
After commanding most of Stage 3, Grant Enfinger saw the return of Ryan Preece, who advanced on top of the leaderboard soon after. The JTG Daugherty Racing driver featured as a guest entry at the Nashville event.
Deegan was able to charge back and gain some more positions in the final laps and ended in P21, while the race was won by Preece ahead of Todd Gilliland and Grant Enfinger.
A few hours after the Nashville chequered flag, Hailie Deegan was already on the starting grid of the brand-new Camping World SRX Series, for the second event of the inaugural season. The championship is designed to bring together some of the biggest names in the American motorsport, of the recent past and present.
On the dirt of Knoxville, Deegan started from third and battled with Tony Stewart - also among the creators of the project - for the race leadership through the entire 100 laps - showing her racing skills on dirt, also among a field of more experienced competitors.
With a final move on Enrie Francis Jr right on the final lap, the young star took home a second place finish at her series debut, proving that she has what it takes to compete in an all-star grid.
“My goal coming into this race was to prove to everyone that I deserved to be here." - she commented. "I feel like we did that tonight, running second to Tony Stewart, that’s a huge accomplishment for me,” she added. Deegan is a three-time winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – one of which on dirt at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I feel like we just ran a clean race, we just wrapped the bottom, stayed consistent, ran my line and finished second.”
Hailie Deegan will be back on track in a few days' time for the Pocono round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.