With COVID-19 sweeping the globe and bringing practicing to a halt in the NASCAR and ARCA world, it’s got to be a tough situation for younger drivers, such as 19-year old ARCA Menards Series driver Hailie Deegan, to gain a solid foundation for their stock car racing careers. However, on Wednesday, Deegan addressed the Topsy-Turvy season with a media zoom call.
For Deegan, as well as other young drivers, 2020 has been all about making lemonade out of lemons.
“I wouldn’t call it a lost year. But I haven’t got everything out of it that I was planning on,” Deegan explained. “But I think we’re making the best out of it. I have put in a lot more time on the simulator. I’ve been doing a lot more around stock car racing, not just practicing at the track.
“I’ve been doing a lot more dirt racing, dirt circle track racing same time. A lot more studying footage and focusing on the offtrack stuff to get me ready for the on track stuff since we have such a lack of practice.”
While she hasn’t had a whole lot of track time, outside of the actual races themselves to hone her racing craft, Deegan has still has a very successful rookie campaign in the ARCA Menards Series. She has racked up 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts and has a best finish of second, which came at Daytona International Speedway at the beginning of the year.
Heading into the 15th race of the 2020 season, Deegan sits third in the championship standings behind only Michael Self and Bret Holmes.
Another disappointing thing for Deegan, is that COVID has not only crushed her ability to get more track time in 2020, but it also wiped out previously laid out plans to potentially run a few NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series events this season.
“The thing that I was actually — at the beginning of the year — we were going to be in the clear to do a few truck races, but with money-wise and budget-wise with my racing and so what actually happened with the whole COVID deal and everything, everyone’s budget of what they were going to give extra on top of what I already had signed was cut,” Deegan said. “And then we had to start again from square one again.”
Even with the up in the air plans, Deegan says she is still holding out hope for making her Truck Series debut before the end of the 2020 season.
“As of now, nothing is really set in stone,” Deegan admitted. “Money’s still tight, ARCA is expensive. We’re still figuring out.”
Deegan continued on the prospect of running a 2020 Truck Series race by saying, “Obviously, I would love to do a truck race this year, if it works out.”
Obviously, there are huge financial hurdles that must be leapt by the California-native for a NASCAR Truck Series ride, but if Deegan can find the sponsorship backing to run a Truck Series race this season, she sounds determined to do so. Regardless, even with the weird season it’s been for everyone, she has had a solid first full-time ARCA Menards Series season.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.