Hailie Deegan started her Camping World Truck Series season at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night in what looked like a promising debut. However, she lost control of her No. 1 Monster Energy Ford and hit the inside wall, but still went out fighting.
She went on to finish 24th and currently holds the 25th spot in the Camping World Truck Series standings.
Hailie Deegan fared better in the first segment of Friday's Truck race, finishing 13th, and spoke about having learned a lot about how the truck handles in different situations:
“I think that going out there I kind of had a lot of goals as in just being smooth, not being the driver that is a little out of control and bouncing on and off the line. I think with my spotter, TJ, in my ear the whole time and coaching me through it. I feel like we ran a pretty good race until our little incident.”
Hailie Deegan also announced during the teleconference that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s old spotter, TJ Majors, would be her spotter for the rest of the season.
It's expected that Majors' experience as a spotter, which goes back to the early days of Earnhardt Jr.'s Cup career, will help smoothen Hailie Deegan's transition to the Truck Series.
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Hailie Deegan on getting to grips with dirt
Deegan also claimed she would be at a disadvantage in the upcoming dirt track races this season.
“I have never raced at Knoxville and have never raced at Bristol on the dirt, I don't think anyone has. Going into these dirt races isn't about having an advantage.I think I am very disadvantaged when it comes to all these race tracks because I haven’t been there before and I don't have a lot of experience in these trucks. They handle a lot differently to ARCA cars. That is something I am having to learn every single race. I think going there, I will be a little more comfortable than at a lot of the pavement tracks but I don't think as comfortable as a lot of people will be.”
Hailie Deegan's sentiments will be shared by many NASCAR drivers, who have been getting to grips with racing on dirt in recent years. After the Truck Series started visiting Eldora in 2013, the Cup Series will now be following suit with a dirt race at Bristol on Mar. 28.
In such an environment, Hailie Deegan's process of approaching the challenge bodes well to make her a surprise contender.
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