Hailie Deegan turned many heads towards her on-track performances with her quick rise this year. After her first and only year in the ARCA Menards Series, Deegan is set to make her full-time debut in the NASCAR Truck Series in 2021. A ‘Rookie of the Year’ performance in ARCA greatly helped her cause.
Deegan is part of the Ford development program. She signed with Ford Performance last year and was supported by the iconic manufacturer team in the maiden ARCA year. Her impressive performances there then prompted Ford to give her a Truck debut before the end of 2020 itself.
Last weekend at the Kansas Speedway, Deegan ran her first NASCAR Truck Series race. Ford closely monitored Deegan’s performance all year. Ford Performance’s Global Director Mark Rushbrook recently threw light on Deegan’s development so far.
Rushbrook admitted that he and his team did not expect Deegan to convince them so soon to give her a deserving Truck debut.
“Depending on the performance and the growth that we see. When we signed Hailie a year ago and put her in the ARCA program for the first year, we didn’t know if it was going to be one year, two years. Honestly, we thought it was gonna be two years,” Rushbrook said during a media interaction.
Rushbrook said that Deegan proved she was quite ready for the Truck Series. At the same time, he feels it would be the best place for her to grow and learn more.
“Based upon everything that we saw this year, we thought she was very ready for Trucks. And that would probably be the best place for her to continue more growth and development in the Truck Series for 2021.”
He said Ford will keep monitoring Deegan’s Truck performances. For the 19-year-old, a Truck year is just another step in her aim to progress into the Xfinity Series, before eventually fulfilling the Cup Series dream. This is the case with every driver.
However, Rushbrook did not set a timeline for Deegan’s further promotion. He said Ford will keep reviewing her performance and make a call based on it. “So we’ll keep watching her. It could be one year, it could be two years, could be three years. We’ll watch and see.”
In her Truck Series debut at Kansas, Deegan exceeded expectations and finished in 16th place. After the race, an excited Deegan reflected on the challenges of driving in a high-intensity race.