33e21ed0 15b0 4f6b 9961 2cf85a52af62 winners intro

33e21ed0 15b0 4f6b 9961 2cf85a52af62 winners intro

Hailie Deegan heads to Homestead this week with a wee bit of wind at her back.

Through two full-time seasons in NASCAR’s Truck Series, momentum has rarely been a passenger, so she’s welcoming the company.

“I learned so much that I haven’t got it processed yet. But I’m just happy we were able to have a good run,” she said this past Saturday after her first start in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series.

Her 13th-place, lead-lap finish — in a Ford owned by Bobby Dotter — was the best debut ever for a woman in the Xfinity Series, and it came on the heels of her best 2022 finish in the Truck Series — a sixth-place run at Talladega.

Hailie Deegan’s crew-chief change pays off a bit in NASCAR’s Truck Series

A crew-chief change several weeks back has had positive — if somewhat modest — results during Jerry Baxter’s four-race run atop the pit box. After finishes of 26th and 22nd at Richmond and Kansas, Deegan has taken her No. 1 Ford truck to a 14th at Bristol followed by the sixth at Talladega, both on the lead lap.

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Hailie Deegan has a successful debut in the Xfinity Series. Will it lead to something for 2023?

Her other Truck Series top-10 this year was on the Mid-Ohio road course.

Deegan’s David Gilliland Racing team isn’t one of the Truck Series’ upper-tier, best-funded operations, but it was hoped Deegan would overachieve enough this year to warrant a possible promotion to the Xfinity Series.

That still may happen, because marketing and sponsorship interest is still a major driver in auto racing, as it has always been. If a combination of team and bill-payer comes along, Deegan’s 2023 plans might involve a sedan instead of a pickup.

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