Early retirement for Deegan at Winchester after busy ARCA week
Hailie Deegan completed a busy ARCA Menards week with a sixth place in Bristol and an unfortunate end to the Winchester round caused by a tire issue.
It's been a busy week for the ARCA Menards Series, which started from last weekend's Toledo round, continued with Thursday's Bristol event and ended on Saturday with the 17th out of the 20 scheduled round of the revised 2020 racing calendar at Winchester Speedway, Indiana.
Winchester Speedway returns to host an ARCA Menards event after four years and it will be the first ever appearance for Hailie Deegan at the half-mile paved oval.
The DGR Crosley driver entered the round with high expectations as she describes herself as a fan of short-tracks, and targeted her first seasonal win in what has been a very positive ARCA rookie full season, where she was able to conquer three top-five and 14 top-ten finishes so far, as she currently sits third in the championship standings.
"I'm excited to race at Winchester! I think a lot of what we learned at Bristol last night will carry over tommorrow."
"The tracks are similar and the weather looks good there so we'll actually be able to practice, unlike last night with the rain. I've never raced there before, so I've watched film from there and having raced at a similar track last night will probably help me the most. It should be a fun race." - were Deegan's words before the race event.
The Californian lady finished sixth in the previously mentioned event on Thursday at Bristol.
Deegan took the start of the ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Brands race starting from seventh on the grid, while Ty Gibbs and Micheal Self shared the first row.
The pole-sitter had the best start reaction and managed his leadership, while behind him Self and Bret Holmes fought for second place in a very competitive opening ten laps.
Gibbs continued his impressive run during the following laps, also defending successfully from the attacks of Michel Self before being able to open a solid gap to the rest of the field.
Deegan ran sixth until lap 50, but successively she had a contact with the wall where she rubbed the right-rear tire, but the driver of the #4 Ford was able to continue her run until a spin on lap 61.
The first race break came on lap 76, with Deegan placing herself in seventh position - two laps down after a forced pit stop to fix damages.
Gibbs and Self were again the main protagonists of the race at the restart, with a close battle for P1. Just like at the previous green flag, it was Ty Gibbs to come out on top and into the leadership.
The two top drivers remained close for whole the second part of race, which was stopped by a caution on lap 112 when Hailie Deegan suffered another hit with the wall caused by an issue to the right-front tire, which ultimately forced the DGR Crosley driver to an early retirement. The 19-year old from Temecula thus interrupted a positive streak of 9 top-ten finishes.
Gibbs defend again the lead from Self at the restart and reached the second race break while still commanding the pack with 50 laps to go.
Micheal Self tried the ultimate attacks at the restart with an aggressive move at Turn 1, but could nothing against Gibbs' tenacity, who held off his rival and switched back around the outside.
With 40 laps to go, Holmes tried to overtake Self for second: the two made slight contact but Self maintained position and finished just behind race winner Ty Gibbs. Bret Holmes completed the top three.
"Right now we're just focusing on trying to get good finishes and learning a lot during these race." - commented Deegan. "I was having a lot of fun driving here, but we got into the fence just a little racing with Jesse Love when I was trying to pass him. I tagged the fence just a hair, just enough to bend a couple panels to start rubbing on the right rear and the next thing you know it went down and that's why I spun out the first time."
"We went back out after pitting and the next thing you know I blew a right front and hit the wall right there which sucks to have our day end like that."
"It is what it is. The DGR-Crosley team gave me a fast Monster Energy Ford coming here and it's a matter of time before we start having a little better runs and having luck on our side. I'm super thankful for everyone who supports me, the team for giving me great cars, Monster Energy, Ford, Wastequip and everyone else who helps me."- she concluded.
Memphis International Speedway will host the next round of the 2020 ARCA Menards series season on September 26th.