Who Is Hailie Deegan In NASCAR?
A young, talented rising star in NASCAR, Hailie Deegan was voted the 2021 Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver. One of the few women drivers in a male-dominated sport and seemingly able to compete on any surface or in any format, Deegan makes an impact every time she gets behind the wheel. But who is Hailie Deegan in NASCAR?
Hailie Rochelle Deegan was born July 18, 2001, in Temecula, California, where she was raised and attended high school. Her father is an accomplished freestyle motocross rider and off-road racing driver, Brian Deegan. Thanks to her father’s influence, Hailie began riding dirt bikes at age seven and started racing off-road short course Trophy Karts the following year, at age eight. Her younger brothers, Haiden and Hudson, compete in motocross.
In 2009, her first season of off-road racing, Deegan raced a junior Trophy Kart (a miniaturized off-road racing truck) in the SXS Stadium Series Trophy Kart race, winning the first race she competed in and reaching the podium in the second. That year she also ran two Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) races in the Junior 1 Karts class.
The next season Deegan advanced to the LOORRS Junior 2 Karts class after running six races in Junior 1. For the next few years, she raced the LOORRS Junior 2 Karts series, achieving two podiums in 2011 regional races and a win in 2012.
In 2013, after winning three races and seeing six total podiums, Deegan won the Junior 2 Karts series championship. She moved up to the Modified Kart class the same season. Within two years, she was the 2015 Modified Kart Regional Champion. The following season she took home the 2016 LOORRS Modified Kart National Championship. That same year she was named the 2016 Lucas Oil Off Road Driver of the Year, the only youth racer to receive the award in history. Deegan is one of only four women ever to have won a LOORRS class championship; the other three are Megan Mitchell, Kali Kinsman, and Corry Mitchell.
Deegan drove full-time in the LOORRS Pro Lite class in 2017, racing full-size off-road trophy trucks. She took home three podiums, finishing sixth in the points championship. She continued to run part-time in the series for the next two seasons, but her focus shifted from off-road to asphalt racing.
Deegan was accepted into NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program in 2016, an initiative that aims to increase the number of female and minority drivers and crew members in NASCAR. She started training as a development driver and ran a few races in the Legends Series, which uses reduced-scale vintage replica stock cars, for Rev Racing. 2017 saw Deegan selected for that year’s NASCAR Next class; she was the youngest and only female member. That year, she was also signed to Toyota’s driver development program.
Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) gave Deegan her first regional NASCAR experience, selecting her for a full-time ride in the K&N Pro Series West and a part-time ride in the K&N Pro Series East, driving the No. 19 Toyota during the 2018 season. In her K&N Pro Series West debut, she finished fourth after battling for position during the race with Cup Series star Kevin Harvick. After the race, Harvick complimented her driving and expressed optimism about her future in the sport. On September 29, 2018, Hailie Deegan made history by winning her first NASCAR race, the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 at Meridian Speedway, becoming the first woman ever to win a K&N Pro Series Race. She is only the second woman in history to win a NASCAR regional series race, the first being Shawna Robinson in 1988.
In 2019, Deegan ran a similar schedule in the regional K&N Pro Series, again with BMR, finishing third in the West Series drivers’ championship. That year she also made her debut in the ARCA Menards Series (a regional NASCAR series one level up from the K&N Pro Series). There, she drove six races for Venturini Motorsports, finishing a series-best fifth in the Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Deegan signed a full-time deal for 2020 with DGR-Crosley to drive the No. 1 Ford F-150 in the ARCA Menards Series. That season she made her debut in a national NASCAR series, driving a one-off race in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Clean Harbors 200 at Kansas Speedway. Again driving the No. 1 Ford for DGR-Crosley (now called David Gilliland Racing), Deegan moved up to a full-time Truck Series ride in 2021. Her best finish was seventh in the Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Back with David Gilliland Racing (DGR), Hailie Deegan is off to a promising start in the 2022 season of the Camping World Truck Series.
Since moving to DGR and Ford, Deegan has dabbled in other asphalt racing disciplines, making several starts in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Tony Stewart’s Superstar Racing Experience (SRX). Deegan is known for her aggressive driving style, not shying away from contact if it means getting a win. While this has found her some enemies, her fearlessness and self-assuredness have only added to Hailie Deegan’s popularity.