Could the K&N Racing Series Have Another Female Star?

Hailie Deegan is ready to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2018. [photo courtesy Hailie Deegan]

Hailie Deegan is ready to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2018. [photo courtesy Hailie Deegan]

Turk’s Tracks
A Few Loose Lug Nuts from Pit Row

By Gene Turk

Last year, I wrote an article on the accomplishments of K&N series racer Julie Landauer. Well, it seems that 2018 just might have another female racer that has the potential to follow in Julie’s footsteps in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Her name is Hailie Deegan, and the Temecula, California native is only 16 years old!

Hailie Deegan's new ride for the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. [photo courtesy Hailie Deegan]

Hailie Deegan’s new ride for the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. [photo courtesy Hailie Deegan]

Hailie will be driving the number 19 Mobil 1/ Napa Premium Plus Toyota for Bill McAnalley Racing. She will be joining her two other teammates at the start of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West 2018 season.

Hailie had to work hard to earn her ride by passing a number of test trials with both Bill McAnalley Racing and Toyota in 2017. It seems that she must have impressed the folks at the trials so much that she has been scheduled to not only compete in the K&N West series, but will also compete in some K&N East series races. Most impressive for a 16 year old. So, how did Hailie get to where she is today?

This young lady started driving when she was only 8 years old in off-road racing. She then became the first female to win a race and championship in the Lucas Off-Road Championship Racing Series. Her accomplishments include Modified Kart Regional champion in 2015. Then in 2016 she won the Modified Kart National Champion. In 2017, she won the driver of the year. What was also unique in 2017 is that she was the first female in the Pro Lite division of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series to have multiple podium wins in her rookie year. But her accomplishments were not done yet. She went on to win the NASCAR Diversity Young Racer award.

Looking to the future, Hailie has two major goals. The first is to follow in the footsteps of her father, Brian Deegan. It just so happens that the elder Deegan has multiple championships in the Lucas Oil Pro 2 and Lucas Oil Pro-Lite series. Her second goal is to drive in the NASCAR Monster Energy Series. Sounds like we just might have a future Danica Patrick coming along.

Speaking of Danica, it looks like things are not going all that well for her in securing a ride for the Daytona 500 this year. By her own admission, getting a ride has not gone as quickly as she had hoped for. To be quite honest, time is running out for her to get a ride. If she is going to drive in the Daytona 500, something has to come together in the next two weeks. A sponsor needs to be signed on, a car needs to be prepped with the sponsor’s logo and paint scheme. A pit crew needs to be hired and a crew chief found. I wonder how many crews are willing to sign on for a one race deal only? Then Danica needs to get some practice time in on the track, the pit crew needs to practice pit stops, and finally Danica needs to have her qualifying run and then run in a twin 150. Let’s not forget the all-important media events with photo ops and interviews. Now she does have a little more time to get a ride for the Indy 500, but here too, I haven’t really heard of owners lining up to offer her a ride. The real issue is that the car owners now expect the driver to bring a sponsor with then to insure a ride in the race. I guess we’ll just have to wait a few more weeks to find out if Danica Patrick is in the starting grid.

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Gene Turk was born with racing in his blood. At age 8 he started racing Quarter Midgets as member of the Great Milwaukee Quarter Midget club. For five years he raced the #7 car that his father built. He then graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) with a degree in Industrial Engineering and Internal Combustion Engineering.

While in college he obtained his Private Pilot’s License.

Along the way he has attended numerous Indy car and stock car races at the Milwaukee Mile during the 60s, 70sand 80s along with area Midget car races. He would also frequently fly to the Brickyard to watch the Indy 500 time trials in the 60s and 70s and more recently attended the 2014 Indy 500.

He has also attended numerous sports car and NASCAR races at Elkhart Lake Road America. Finally, Gene has owned many classic cars including his present 1990 Corvette and is a self-described “Gear Head.”