ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Hailie Deegan’s rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West could best be summed up as “mission accomplished.”
Deegan just wrapped up her first season driving the Bill McAnally Racing No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry in the West division of NASCAR’s top developmental series.
The 17-year-old from Temecula, California had a history-making season – becoming the first female driver to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race and first woman to win a pole award in the series. She also became the first woman to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
“This year has pretty much been a dream season for me,” said Deegan, a member of the NASCAR Next program, which spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars. “Everything that I wanted to accomplish, we accomplished.
“It’s been a really good learning year for me,” she said. “Everyone surrounding me, we’ve had tons of positive people and tons of positive results. This year was definitely a successful year.”
Deegan capped her season off by clinching the rookie title in the final race of the year at Kern County Raceway Park on Saturday.
“We ended up winning the Rookie of the Year, which is pretty cool,” she said. “It was kind of like my last goal for the year.”
In addition to taking the rookie award, Deegan finished fifth in the overall championship standings. She had one win, two poles, five top-five finishes, and 12 top-10 finishes in 14 races.
“It’s been exciting to watch Hailie’s development in the NASCAR K&N Series this year,” said team owner Bill McAnally. “She made a big step in graduating to this series, but she demonstrated that she was ready for it. It’s been great to see her succeed.”
Deegan started off the season with top-10 finishes in the first three races. She stepped things up in the next two races, with back-to-back top-five finishes at Southern California’s Orange Show Speedway and Colorado National Speedway, just north of Denver.
She led the contingent of BMR drivers with a seventh-place finish on the road course at California’s Sonoma Raceway and then scored her first podium finish, coming home in the runner-up spot at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon.
RELATED LINKS: 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Results
Deegan’s only subpar finishes of the season were the result of contact in the two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination races – at Iowa Speedway and at Gateway Motorsports Park. Sandwiched between the two combo events, she had a seventh-place finish at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. She captured the spotlight as the K&N West raced at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she won the pole award and finished second.
Deegan grabbed even bigger headlines at the next event at Idaho’s Meridian Speedway, using a bump-and-run move on the last lap to win the race. She followed that up with a seventh-place finish at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.
Deegan garnered her second pole award in the season finale at KCRP near Bakersfield, California and went on to finish sixth, after contact from another car in the final laps.
QUALIFYING RECAPS: Vegas | Kern | RACE RECAP: Hailie Deegan Makes History With K&N Pro Series West Win at Meridian
In addition to racing the full schedule of 14 K&N West events this year, Deegan also competed in four races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – racing at New Smyrna, Bristol, Memphis, and New Hampshire.
Deegan, the daughter of legendary X-Games athlete Brian Deegan, won multiple championships in off-road racing – where she began her racing career at the age of 8. She transitioned to stock cars, racing in late models before making her debut this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.