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Hailie Deegan back in the top-15 in NASCAR Xfinity

Hailie Deegan enjoyed a very positive third round of the NASCAR Xfinity season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the driver of the #15 Ford Mustang bounced back from an unfortunate first few rounds and secured her first top-15 of the year - and her second out of four starts in the series.


Hailie Deegan, NASCAR Xfinity 2024, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Hailie Deegan enjoyed a very positive third round of the NASCAR Xfinity season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the driver of the #15 AM Racing-run Ford Mustang secured her first top-15 of the year - and her second out of four starts in the series.


Deegan, in her Xfinity rookie year, had in fact made a one-off appearance in 2022 at the same track, impressing with a P13 on debut. As part of the Ford Performance program, Deegan made the step up to Xfinity after three full seasons in the NASCAR Truck Series, but has quickly adapted to the new championship and shown speed despite an unfortunate start of the season.


The 21 year old Californian in fact kicked-off her campaign with AM Racing with an early retirement from the season opener at Daytona, when she was caught in an accident in the opening stages. At the RAPTOR King of Tough 250 Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, on the other hand, she was able to showcase her potential and made her way up the order with a stellar performance that would have realistically resulted in her first top ten, before her Ford Mustang came to a halt running out of fuel with 2 laps to go.


The third round at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was therefore the opportunity to bounce back and prove her speed on the only track where Deegan had previous Xfinity experience - as well as four starts in the NASCAR Truck series.


"I am really upbeat about returning to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series" Hailie commented before the weekend. "I had a really good showing in my NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2022 and I’m confident that my AM Racing team is going to bring me a fast No. 15 AirBox Ford Mustang that is going to give me an opportunity to match or better that finish."


“It’s been a little bit of a rocky start to the season, so I am hoping we can go to Las Vegas this weekend and turn things around on the West Coast.”


And Deegan delivered, with a solid showing around the the 1.5-mile speedway which saw the Temecula-native making consistent progress throughout the race, running smartly and with the help of good pit stops from her crew.


Hailie qualified P28 for Saturday's The LiUNA 300 race and, with a good start, she soon gained a couple of positions before an early caution on lap 8 when Sam Mayer got involved in a contact that damaged his front left. Happy with the balance of her #15 Ford Mustang, Deegan took the restart from P24 and slowly made her way up to 20th by lap 23. She would pit for the first time at the end of the first stage, won by Chandler Smith.


Deegan had a good stop and rejoined in P18: she would battle around the top-20 in the following laps, as the second stage went on uninterrupted. Positions settled and Deegan ran in P24, approximately one second behind Ellis. With some good laps, she managed to complete the second stage on the lead lap.


Now up to 21st after a flawless stop, Deegan had a brilliant restart and gained three places. She would then settle in P21 over the next 20 laps, until the caution was out: Hailie pitted for new tyres when the pit lane opened and gained a few more spots with another very solid pit stop by the AM Racing crew. The green flag waved again on lap 128 and Hailie made up two positions, advancing to 16th.


In the final stage, Deegan's pace came alive: she overtook Williams and traded positions with Heim, before making a move stick on Burton for P13. While she fell to 16th later in the stint, Deegan held on brilliantly and went a bit longer before the final stop under green: she pitted from tenth with 31 laps to go.


Burton was handed a penalty for speeding in pit road, and Deegan was therefore up to 18th with 20 laps to go, as several cars ahead had stayed out and would need to pit. When everyone had stopped, Hailie was running strong in P15 - and she held on to that position comfortably at the end, crossing the finish line.


It was her second top-15 finish in four Xfinity starts, the first of the season after a challenging first couple of rounds, returning where she belongs.


"Solid day in Vegas for my AM Racing team!", she commented. "Had to start pretty deep in the field, but my guys worked all day long making this Ford Mustang pretty fast! Glad we were able to get a solid finish at one of my favorite tracks. P15 and onto Phoenix!"


The fourth round of the NASCAR Xfinity season will in fact be held at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday March 9th, where Hailie Deegan - now 27th in the standings - will be aiming to carry momentum.

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