NASCAR Truck: Deegan P17 in Richmond, tops best season result
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Despite a challenging and eventful round at Richmond Raceway, Hailie Deegan was able to top her best result of the season to date in the NASCAR Truck series.
Haile Deegan brought home a positive result in what has been a very chaotic and eventful race meeting at Richmond, sixth round of the NASCAR World Camping Truck Series.
Trucks returned to action after a three-week pause and hit the track on the 0.75 miles Richmond Raceway, with young NASCAR upcoming star Hailie Deegan making her first career start at the Virginia oval.
In the now usual no-pratice-no-qualifying format which is defining the 2021 Truck season – and that is making things harder for rookie drivers – Deegan took the start in Saturday's event from fourtheenth position, while Ben Rhodes was sitting on pole. He retained the lead after a clean start from the whole pack, before having to surrender the top spot after two laps to Grant Enfinger.
In the second part of Stage 1, the Kyle Busch Motorsport's duo – Nemechek and Busch – emerged from the mid-field and both reached the top 3. But it was Enfinger to bring home the first stage win, ahead of Nemechek.
Hailie Deegan struggled a bit with her #01 Ford F-150 and pitted for the first break in P22.
If the first fraction was comfortably ran under green flag, the second one was a chaotic caution show.
Kyle Busch was quickly into the lead after the break and led from Enfinger and Nemechek. But the action was soon stopped when Hailie Deegan and Tate Fogleman collided: the BHO driver had the worst out of the contact and was forced to retire, while Deegan continued her run with right-front damages.
After the restart, the other female racer in the field, Jennifer Jo Cobb, was also involved in an incident.
The experienced driver – that a few days ago announced she was set to make her NASCAR Cup Series debut at the following round at Talladega but then didn't receive the green light of approval from NASCAR officials – was hit by Norm Benning and spun. Meanwhile, at the top of the field Nemechek had clinched back the leadership.
Nemechek won Stage 2 ahead of Enfinger and Rhodes; the two ThorSport Racing drivers had both recovered and passed driver-owner Kyle Bush.
The final stage was once again characterized by many cautions: the first one saw Derek Kraus spinning and picking up a tire puncture, while Nemechek still controlled the field after the restart for the third stage. It wasn't long before yet another neutralization: Purdy and Bohn made contact just ahead of Hailie Deegan – the latter managing to stay away from troubles.
At the green flag, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Norm Benning were involved in another collision: NASCAR opted to stop Jo Cobb's race as a consequence.
In a very chaotic Stage 3, Michael Self caused a double incident that brought out two yellow flags. Deegan was involved in a collision between Friesen, Gray and Lessard, but fortunately she came out without major damages to her #1 Ford Truck.
Chandler Smith found himself in the lead with 30 laps to go, but Nemechek and Busch made their way back to the top positions after the final stop for new tires and were back in the run for the victory.
Nemechek clinched the lead with 18 laps to go and, soon after, Busch made the pass on Smith for second. The KBM duo ended P1 and P2, as team owner Kyle Busch could nothing to resist his younger teammate's supremacy.
Hailie Deegan recovered some more positions in the closing laps and, after running outside the Top 20, she was ultimately able to finish P17. It was her second Top-20 of the season in her first full-time campaign in the Truck series, topping her P19 finish at Bristol.
Deegan has been enduring a tough start of the championship, but has shown improvements despite the lack of track time in the race weekends.
She currently sits 18th in the point standings.
The Truck Series will now head to Kansas Speedway for the next event in two weeks time.