Hailie Deegan loses potential top-10 due to late tire puncture at Texas
A late tire puncture wiped away Hailie Deegan's chances for a top-10 at the NASCAR Truck Series' race in Texas.
Last weekend, NASCAR's rising star Hailie Deegan completed her back-to-back mile-and-a-half track event at Texas Motor Speedway, as she entered the 12th round of the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
In the previous round at Charlotte, the DGR driver ran consistently in the top ten before several cautions ended her race in 13th – nevertheless equalling her best result ever in a mile and a half circuit, previously clinched at Kansas Speedway.
In a no-qualifying event at Texas Motor Speedway, Deegan started the Speedycash.com 220 race from 12th, on a very hot day at Fort Worth. The Californian driver battled within the top 15 before the first of several cautions interrupted her run in Stage 1.
Series' leader John Hunter Nemechek led most of the first stage, while Deegan worked her way up the field despite reporting some minor issues on her #01 Ford F-150.
Reigning series champion Sheldon Creed was the first driver to drop out of contention as he was unluckily involved in a double incident in the opening stage that would relegate him at the tail-end of the 36-cars field.
Tanner Gray and Zane Smith had an entertaining duel in Stage 2, which also saw Cup Series champion Chase Elliot joining the battle at the half-time point, at the wheel of the #24 GMS Racing's Silverado. Deegan was feeling more comfortable with her F-150 truck, but another caution on lap 52 halted her progression in 23rd. At the successive restart, though, she charged back until the fifthteenth spot and completed Stage 2 in a favorable position.
Tanner Gray lost the battle against Zane Smith for Stage 2 victory: the driver of the #21 GMS Racing machine topped the second fraction, before leaving the top spot in the final stage in a very battled finale that saw only Elliot as the previous leader to remain in contention for the final win.
Double race winner Ben Rhodes made contact with the wall and dropped to 26th after running in seventh throughout the closing stage, while Deegan also endured a difficult last fraction of the Speedycash.com 220 event.
The 19-year old lady had made it into the Top ten during the third stage and remained in the front-running positions until her scheduled pit stop on lap 110. Unfortunately, Deegan reported issues on her truck and, once she had returned to the track, she was soon forced to stop again a few moments later due to a tire puncture that left her six laps down.
Taking the lead in the final stage after passing both Elliot and a recovering Ross Chastain, Nemechek took home his fourth win of the season, with a three second gap to the Cup Series driver and leading 65 of the 147 laps of the Texan race. Ross Chastain finished third, but after a post-race inspection, the #45 truck was disqualified - promoting Grant Enfinger to the final spot in the top three.
Having rejoined the track for the final lap, Hailie Deegan completed the race in P25 - once again just missing out on a reachable top ten finish due unlucky circumstances. Chastain's disqualification promoted Deegan to P24.
Series veteran and the other woman on track Jennifer Jo Cobb added some more points to her championship tally and was 31th across the finish line.
The NASCAR Truck Series will return to track action next Friday at Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200 event.