ARCA Menards Series

Deegan Reflects On Season, Looks Ahead At Future

By: Mitchell Breuer

Hailie Deegan’s 2020 ARCA Menards Series season has been discussed and critiqued, perhaps more than any other driver she races against thanks to her popularity.

Now, it is not like she is having a bad season; the driver of the No. 4 DGR-Crosley Ford sits third in the points standings, the highest of any rookie, butit’snot as flashy as expected. Deegan has no wins yet, only has three top-five’s, and is 48 points behind the leader, Michael Self.

Among those who are not quite satisfied with the season is Deegan herself.

“I just hold myself to such a high standard,” Deegan said in a Zoom media session Wednesday. “I have such high goals for myself to accomplish. I know I am still in my development years, but still, having a lot of eyes of me does add pressure. It does add pressure to do better than I am at any moment, and I think that I just have to keep in myself like ‘you are new to the series, you are developing for the future.’

She showeda lot of promise with her performance last weekend at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Not only did she lead her first laps of the season, but she led the most of anybody in the race (85) and looked to have a podium ocked up before contact with Ty Gibbs relegated her back to fifth.

While the outcome was not exactly what her team had hoped for, it was a sign of the improvement that Deegan says they have been trying to make all season long.

“I think we are just in the fine-tuning stages of everything,” Deegan said. “Our short track program definitely needed a little work at the beginning of the season, but I think we have made so much improvement, so many big steps. Now, we are just in the small fine-tuning part, where everything just has to come together. It is so many pieces to the puzzle.”

As she looks to put it all together, there is another puzzle that still needs to be addressed for Deegan moving forward- 2021.Will she be moving up to the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series or staying in ARCA?

Right now, the answer is unknown largely due to sponsorship and additional problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before, Deegan did confirm there were talks about possibly doing truck races as early as thisyear.However.plans have changed and with continued changing environment it is tougher to get plans settled in for next season.

“It is kind of difficult when you race off sponsorships,” Deegan said. “You have to almost finish off your year, before you get into talks about the next year. With everything that has happened this year, there is no set plan to what is happening with NASCAR for next year. Are we going to have practice back? Are we going to have qualifying back? Sponsors want to know how much they are getting out of it and, I think that is still very much something that is unknown. It is very hard to talk sponsorship deals at the moment.”

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