Hailie Deegan breaks down barrier, becomes first female winner in K&N Pro Series.
In a sport mostly dominated by men, few women have stepped up to challenge the boys in NASCAR.
Since 1949, former drivers like Sara Christian, Janet Guthrie, Danica Patrick and current drivers such as Natalie Decker and Hailie Deegan all faced adversity in the eyes of the racing world.
On Saturday night, the barrier between women and winning in racing was broken. Hailie Deegan, the daughter of famous motocross rider Brian Deegan, captured her first career victory in the K&N Pro Series West race at Meridian Speedway.
In a race that bore her NAPA sponsor’s name, Deegan moved her teammate Cole Rouse out of the way using the chrome horn.
Deegan only led one lap that Saturday night…the last one.
The 17-year-old phenom saw the checkered flag for the first time in her young rookie career. As she pulled into Victory Lane, her emotions were raw and pure.
“Oh my God,” Deegan said in her post-race interview. “This has to be the best day of my life right here. It doesn’t get much better than this. People don’t understand how many days, how many hours I’ve put into this. How much work I’ve done to get to this moment. It’s just amazing…this is the happiest day of my life. We did it. WOOHOO!”
Deegan made history earlier this year at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by being the first female to win the pole in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series sanctioned race. Now she made history again by using a move she had planned out.
“I was in bed last night thinking, ‘If it comes down, last lap, I’m in second, I’m a car length off of him, what am I going to do?’” Deegan said.
“And I found that Turn 1 spot. I knew what exactly I had to do there. I was doing it to some other people just getting right under them to get them a little light to get them, not wrecking loose, nothing crazy, but enough to just get a little under them and make the pass happen.
“We did that. I knew exactly what I had to do the last lap. I did it, we executed, and we made it happen.”
Deegan received praise from fellow competitors in the racing world. One of those drivers being one of the most successful racers in NHRA history, Brittany Force.
Congrats on the big win @HailieDeegan! Awesome job! 🏆
— BrittanyForce (@BrittanyForce) October 1, 2018
With just two races left in the season at All American Speedway (Oct. 13th) and Kern County Raceway Park (Oct. 27th), Deegan looks to pick up another win.