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Hailie Deegan Wants to be First Woman to Win a K&N Pro Series West Race

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver Hailie Deegan has one specific goal. She wants to be the first woman to win a K&N Pro Series West race.

Deegan, the 16-year-old daughter of X Games star Brian Deegan, is with the right team with a winning tradition in the K&N Pro Series West. She will be driving for Bill McAnally Racing, which won 11 of the 14 races in the K&N Pro Series West in 2017. Bill McAnally Racing driver Todd Gilliland won his second K&N Pro Series West championship in a row. The team has won the past three K&N Pro Series West championships.

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, Bill McAnally Racing

Hailie Deegan started ninth and finished 29th in her first K&N Pro Series race in Florida.

“I want to be able to run in the top three, top five. That’s definitely my goal every race,” Deegan said. “My main goal is being the first girl to win a K&N race. I feel like I have the equipment to do it. I think I am putting in a lot more work than anyone else. I think that will catch up eventually.”

She will be driving the car that Derek Kraus raced last year for Bill McAnally Racing. Knaus won the K&N Pro Series West rookie of the year and the season finale race at Kern County Raceway Park in California. Knaus moved up to the No. 16 car, Gilliland’s car last year, for the team. Deegan moves into the No. 19 car vacated by Knaus.

Deegan is fairly new to stock cars, but not to racing. It is only her second full year in stock car racing, but she has been racing off-road trucks for the past eight years. She will be racing late models with High Point Racing at Irwindale Speedway in addition to racing in the K&N Pro Series.

She admits it took some time before she was comfortable in stock cars of any kind.

“At first I was actually a little nervous,” Deegan said. “Maybe I’m not ready for that yet, because I haven’t had that much time on asphalt.”

She tested with Bill McAnally Racing in October. After the test, McAnally asked if she would be interested in racing for him.

“After that test, I felt like I was ready and that I could do it,” Deegan said. “I’ve just been putting in the seat time to be faster and run up front.”

McAnally told before the K&N Pro Series season started that he is looking forward to having Deegan as part of his team.

“We look forward to being a big part of Hailie’s development as she takes this next step in her racing career,” McAnally said. “We anticipate great things ahead for everybody, including our partners and fans.”

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, Bill McAnally Racing

Hailie Deegan is the 16-year-old daughter of X Games star Brian Deegan.

Her plan is to run the entire K&N Pro Series West and select K&N Pro Series East events. Her first K&N Pro Series was at at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida earlier in February.

“I feel like I’m really comfortable in my car,” Deegan said. “I think it compares more to a late model. It contradicts almost. The late models don’t have much motor, but they’re light. K&N cars, they’re heavy and they have a ton of motor.”

Her first race in the K&N Pro Series did not go as planned. A fuel pump broke in her car early in the K&N Pro Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway. She completed on 19 laps and had to withdraw in last and 29th place.

Despite the poor result, Deegan said her team had some successes in their first race together. She qualified ninth for race and maintained her spot once the race started.

“My goal was to qualify in the top 10,” Deegan said. “All of them were fast. All the fast guys came to that first race. Coming out, I qualified ninth, which I felt was really good. I was the youngest one there and the only girl.

“The race went good. I was just running ninth until lap 20 and my fuel pump broke. It was one of those freak things, you can check it, but it broke. I didn’t hit anything. It just broke. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

The first K&N Pro Series West race is March 15 at Kern County Raceway Park in California. In the meantime, she will be racing late models at Irwindale Speedway.

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, Bill McAnally Racing

NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Hailie Deegan will race for Bill McAnally Racing in 2018.

“That’s going to majorly help me in the K&N car,” Deegan said.

Whether it’s in the K&N Pro Series or late models at Irwindale Speedway, Deegan will be racing every weekend until November. She has at least four off-road races she wants to enter as well. He racing schedule is full for the next few months.

“I’m at the track at least four days a week, that’s like the minimum, and like racing every single weekend,” Deegan said. “My last weekend off is going to be this upcoming weekend and that’s it for the year.”

One of the races she is looking forward to is the dirt track race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With an off-road truck racing background, she said the Las Vegas dirt track will play to her strengths.

“That’s the one I feel like that will be my shining point,” Deegan said. “I came from racing off-road trucks.”

She started racing off-road trucks when she was 8-years-old and won four off-road racing championships.

“I think that off-road truck stuff, that’s definitely helping me in the stock cars,” Deegan said. “I love racing on dirt. That’s my background, That’s where I came from. It’s what I’m really good at naturally. I think it’s transferring over good to stock cars. I know how to move a car around and how to slide a car. It comes natural.”

The K&N brand has become synonymous with stock car racing, Deegan said. K&N has supported Deegan since her off-road racing days and she is grateful to continue her racing career with their support.

“It’s like the K&N Series. Everything is K&N, K&N.” Deegan said. “You don’t even know K&N is the actual company. Everything is the K&N Series, K&N West, K&N East.”

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