Hailie Deegan works her way up to P21 in Atlanta
DGR Crosley's Hailie Deegan worked her way up to P21 in Saturday's NASCAR Truck round at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as she continues her learning season in the series.
Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the fourth round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last Saturday, with Hailie Deegan continuing her first full-season campaign in the series after a streak of challenging races so far. Deegan was in fact protagonnist of very promising performances at the opening rounds, but was then caught is some unfortunate situations with no fault of her own.
As per the no practice sessions and no qualifying rule, Hailie Deegan took the start at Atlanta Motor Speedway from 28th position on a very chilly afternoon at the city capital of Georgia.
John Hunter Nemechek and his teammate and team owner, Kyle Busch, started from the first row and showed their speed straight away, leading early on.
One of the talking points remained the rumors of Busch helping his younger teammate to further extend his championship lead in the points table, with the Cup Series driver exchanging positions at the front with Nemechek, similarly to the previous round.
Busch clinched the lead in the opening laps and managed the action from the top for the classify for the entire first stage. Nemechek overtook Busch for P1 just before the stop, closing a safe margin to his teammate.
Deegan completed Stage 1 just behind the Top 20, struggling a bit with the balance of her Ford F-150.
The second part of the race went on cleanly and with no interruption, and - just like in Stage 1 - Nemechek ended on top after a widely unchallenged run by Kyle Bush in front for most of the laps.
The DGR Crosley lady found better stability on her #1 truck and pitted from P25. Deegan rejoined the track from 20th for the final Stage.
Hailie Deegan was running P25 with 50 laps to go, just as Busch managed the gap into the lead, again followed by Nemechek.
The final scheduled pit stop saw Deegan coming into pit road from the top 25 and, working her way up the order in the closing laps, she was able to recover up to crossing the finish line in 21st position.
"Well, not the exact finish we wanted but still really proud of what we accomplished this race." - she said. "We ran a clean race and my crew made solid changes every stop. Learning something new every time we race."
The last pit stop cost Nemechek the opportunity to win the Atlanta round: he was in fact passed by Austil Hill - who had put together a solid drive throughout the whole race in the front-running positions - while Kyle Bush was first at the chequered flag after a dominant performance.
At the back of the pack, Jennifer Jo Cobb ended a difficult fourth seasonal round in P38.
"We really struggled with our Fastener Supply Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway today." - Jo-Cobb said.
"This track just eats up tires and the speed falls off so great it’s crazy.", she explained.
"Our budget only allows us to buy two sets of tires so we predicted it would be tough.
This same truck had such issues at the road course and then was the best truck I’d driven in a long time at Vegas. Today it went back to being one of the worst trucks I’ve ever driven. It’s frustrating but that is why there is so much respect for the men and women who work on these things and figure out how to make them go around."
"We have identified a couple of issues on why I thought something was wrong with the right rear of the truck so we will inspect everything thoroughly and get it fixed for this truck’s next race. Meanwhile we will be full speed ahead on our Bristol dirt truck this week."
The next event of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be a dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, where Jessica Friesen will also make her first appearance in the series, as she races alongside her husband Stewart for the fist time.