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Hailie Deegan gives us glimpse of bright future with 2nd-place Daytona performance Featured

Posted On Monday, 10 February 2020 01:45 Written by
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Hailie Deegan took home a 2nd-place finish in Saturday's ARCA race, an impressive start to her season. Hailie Deegan took home a 2nd-place finish in Saturday's ARCA race, an impressive start to her season. Photo courtesy of ARCA

One thing is clear after this weekend: Ford has hit a home run by bringing Hailie Deegan on board.

The 18-year-old phenom has a strong racing pedigree, talent to spare, and a great attitude overall. Previously, her detractors have critiqued her willingness to use the chrome horn to get a victory. But in Saturday’s ARCA race, she showed she has the patience to go far in this sport, and not make enemies unnecessarily.

Deegan’s efforts landed her a 2ndplace finish, sandwiched between two Venturini cars in 1stand 3rd, and she was happy with her effort.

“Pretty much at the end there, all I wanted to do was finish. My goal for this race was top three to top-five was a victory for me,” Deegan said. “It is a long season and I have to race against these guys week in and week out. It is best to stay on good terms with them. Second is really a win to me this weekend. Winning the first race would have maybe been a little too high of standards for the rest of the season. Everything would have been downhill. This gives me something to still work towards.”

Looking ahead, we’ll see how the ARCA season shakes out. But Deegan clearly has the chops to grow into a successful NASCAR competitor. She just needs to take it slowly for it to work.

After her ARCA year in 2020, she can move on to Trucks for a year or two, then a year or two in Xfinity, then on to Cup — Stewart-Haas should have an open Cup seat for Deegan by that point, and she’ll only be about 23 years old with a long career ahead of her. More importantly, she’ll have learned the lessons she needs to learn in these lower series. 

For those who doubt Deegan because of how Danica Patrick’s career turned out (which isn’t fair to begin with, by the way), please note that Danica didn’t have the history or knowledge of stock cars that Deegan does, so there is no need to bring up the D word every time that Hailie’s name comes up in the news. Repeat after me: They are two different people.

I wish Deegan luck, as this sport is tough on everyone, and she’ll have more sets of eyes on her every action than any other driver in ARCA this year, which coincidentally should be a big boost to the ARCA series’ overall popularity with fans in 2020.

Suarez has work to do
After being In limbo up until the last minute this off-season, Daniel Suarez got the good news that he will be in a Cup ride this year, for Gaunt Brothers Racing.

The bad news is he still has to race his way into the Daytona 500. Justin Haley and Brendan Gaughan locked in the first two “open” spots on the grid, so Suarez has to battle Timmy Hill, JJ Yeley, Chad Finchum and Reed Sorensen for one of the final two spots in the Duels.

Suarez is arguably the best driver of the five, but a wreck in the Duels at Daytona can ruin his chances to qualify. So it will be a nerve-wracking Thursday for Mr. Suarez and his “amigos” fan base.


Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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