Hailie Deegan's strong run cut short by mechanical troubles
It was an unlucky birthday for ARCA star Hailie Deegan at Iowa Speedway, as the Californian's strong run in the opening stages was cut short by mechanical troubles.
Iowa Speedway hosted last Saturday the seventh round of the 2020 ARCA Menards season.
Hailie Deegan entered the Newton race sitting fourth in general standings with a 24 points gap from championship leader Micheal Self and two points behind the others title conteders Brett Holmes and Drew Dollar.
During her previous experiences in the formerly-known K&N West Series, Deegan competed two times on the Iowa Speedway, but both races marked misfortune for the young Californian: she finished 21th after an accident in 2018 and was 12th in last year's event.
"I haven't had much luck at Iowa in the past, but hopefully I can change that on Saturday." - she commented before this weekend's race. "I'm excited to race the same car we took to Lucas Oil Raceway a couple weeks ago. We were really competitive there and it should be a good car at Iowa too."
"I have a lot of fun racing at the smaller tracks and I definitely think it evens the playing field. We get a little bit of practice, so we can use that to dial-in the car instead of just learning the track since I've been there before. A win would for sure be the best birthday present!" - said Hailie Deegan, who turned 19 on July 18th.
But the Iowa short track curse was destined to hit again the young ARCA star.
Deegan, started from fourth a based on Sioux Chief Short Track Showdown points, showed very prominsing speed in the opening stages: she passed Chandler Smith and moved up to second on lap 28 and held that position until the first break on lap 50.
When the race went back to green, the driver of the #4 Monster Energy Ford Fusion increased her pressure on Ty Gibbs and tried to move into the lead, but was the latter defended. While running consistently in second, Hailie Deegan was forced to get back to pit road with a broken track bar. The DGR-Crosley crew pushed her back behind the wall and, after remarkable efforts, the #4 was back on track for some valuable points. She ended 18th.
"That was definitely disappointing." - said Deegan. "We had such a fast Monster Energy Ford today. I don't know if we had anything for Ty [Gibbs], but I wish I could have been there at the end to give it a shot."
"The guys did a great job trying to get me back out there. We'll go back to the shop and regroup for Kansas next weekend."
Other title conterds Drew Dollars endured a rough round as well, with a 17th place finish caused by engine issues.
More problems also influenced points leader Micheal Self's race, who was nonetheless able to took home a solid P6 result despite suffering from electrical issues.
Ty Gibbs triumphed for the second time in a row and was author of a flawless weekend where he was fastest in the practice session and then led 135 laps of the Shore Lunch 150 event.
Sam Mayer tried to steal away victory from Gibbs's hands and closed the gap in the last laps, but he hit the wall and was unable to complete the final attack for the leadership and crossed the finish line in second.
Bret Holmes finished third and took advantage from the championship rivals' misfortunes on Saturday. He was followed by Chandler Smith in fourth and Taylor Gray in P5.
Max MacLaughlin, Kory Swanson, Gracie Trotter and Thad Moffith completed the top ten.
ARCA Menards Series will return on track Saturday at Kansas Speedway.