Deegan takes 9th after strong race at Gateway
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Hailie Deegan finished 9th after a contact with teammate Derek Kraus while running consistently in the top-5. Brittney Zamora out with engine failure.
The NASCAR K&N West and East combined event was held last night at the World Wide Technology Raceway in Gateway. It wasn't a lucky one for the two young ladies competing in the West division.
The race was immediately interrupted by the first caution for a contact between Garcia Jr, Gray and McLaughlin. Hailie Deegan, starting from tenth, soon gained some positions and brought herself up to seventh.
As soon as the the green flag was waved back on track, smoke started to come out of the #6 car driven by Huddleston, causing the second interruption. Deegan moved forward another position, with Kraus behind her.
Hailie had a great restart at lap 16, completing a good overtake and moving up to fourth place. Behind her, a very aggresive Gilliland started to engage in an exciting battle with the 18-year old girl, as she defended well but Gilliland was ultimately able to exploit his car balance to regain fourth.
Brittney Zamora, starting last on the grid due to an engine failure that did not allowed her to take part in the qualifying session, was forced to retire due to the recurrence of the same problem.
Gilliland, seemingly in great shape, was then protagonist of another powerful battle with Davis, while Kraus passed Deegan for P5 on lap 39.
Another caution interrupted the racing action on lap 46 when the unlucky T.Gray, who had been running with the entire rear of his car damaged by the initial contact, was forced to stop with a punctured right-front tire.
The main winner of the restart was again Hailie Deegan, who managed to take fourth place, while Kraus tried to launch an attack on Gilliland but without the desired outcome, as he remained sixth.
On lap 54 Gilliland retook P4 from Deegan and on Lap 56 the fight between the two West title contenders heated up: Hailie Deegan and Derek Kraus went side by side, with Deegan having to defend superbly from the teammate attacks.
The mid-race break brought also a big turning point for the lead of the race: Cabre, undisputed race dominator until that moment, started to lose power and his #4 car came to a stop half-way through the pit lane. Chase Cabre was thus forced to give up his victory chances.
At the restart Deegan and Kraus were respectively P4 and P5, but the Californian girl made a stunning move stick on Gilliland on lap 74 and took the third place, before the two switched positions back six laps later. Kraus attempted then an opportunistic move on his championship rival, as the two made contact: it was Deegan to come out with the worst outcome, as the Toyota #19 picked up a left-rear cut in the tire.
Hailie Deegan managed to return to the pits to replace the tire and took advantage of a yellow flag to recover the gap. After a good restart, she finished the race in ninth position.
Spencer Davis scored his first victory in three years, followed by Kraus and Gilliland.
Hailie Deegan proved one more time to be one of the upcoming NASCAR stars, as she ran consistently in the top-5 and was one of the few K&N West drivers to compete for the top positions in a race dominated by the East competitors.
Derek Kraus increased his lead in the standings but was ruin the race and the Championship with a despicable move on Deegan.
NASCAR K&N West will be back on September 28th at Meridian where Hailie Deegan made history with her first win in 2018.
Ph credits: BMR Racing