Hailee Deegan has, without a doubt been one of the biggest names in NASCAR in the last 2 years despite racing in the lowest of the 3 national series. She is one of the most marketable drivers in the sport and is always a big draw for sponsors which has helped launch her career in the NASCAR Truck Series. Deegan came in with high expectations put on her not only by herself but the media and other people in the sport as well. With an underwhelming rookie season only scoring 1 top ten this season is crunch time and a chance for Deegan to prove she belongs in the sport.
The return of practice and qualifying the list of excuses got shortened a good bit. Last season there was always the fact that for almost every rookie in the series it was their first time visiting a track and racing right away with no track time previously. This season is her second time at a lot of the tracks and now with practice and qualifying there is a chance to get more time on track which should lead to better results. This season has been the exact opposite of improvement, 2 DNF in 3 races and the only finish being 17th at Daytona, she is already in win condition to get in territory for the playoffs. The first DNF was not entirely her fault but, as she admitted in a vlog on her Youtube it could have been avoided by qualifying better and staying away from the back of the pack where most accidents happen. After a wreck on the top of the track in Las Vegas, Deegan failed to go down the track and packed into the wrecks late. The Atlanta DNF was a slight fault due to bad qualifying after almost getting run over there was a tire rub, Deegan came down the pits got a new set of tires and a few laps later came back down on fire. The fire started in the tire and spread through the truck ending her race. Deegan has talked a lot about the lack of respect throughout the field in trucks and how it makes it even harder to perform when there is no give or take and it is all take. It is harder to build relations and make friends in the field, something that helps a lot in racing and goes unnoticed until drivers are not friends. Help in the field can do a lot for a driver’s performance and trucks are not the best place to find it.
There is still a lot of time for Deegan to turn her rough start to the season around with a few of her better tracks coming up on the schedule soon. Road courses and the harder to drive mile and a half tracks are her bread and butter and she can hopefully string together a few good races and make a playoff run and keep her ride for next season or maybe score a better truck and really showcase her talent.