Toyota development driver Hailie Deegan made history Saturday night by winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Meridian Speedway, becoming the first female driver to ever win in the K&N Pro Series.
Deegan took the lead on the final lap and never looked back to capture the historic victory.
“Oh my God,” Deegan ecstatically said in victory lane. “This has to be the best day of my life right here. It doesn’t get any better than this. People don’t understand how many days, how many hours I’ve put into this. How much work I’ve done to get to this moment. It’s just amazing … this is the happiest day of my life. We did it!”
Earlier this week, the 17-year-old driver from Temecula, California tweeted a checklist of goals for her 2018 season. Only one goal remained on her already impressive list: win a race.
Deegan got to check that box and make history along the way.
Making history isn’t something new for Deegan. In her last NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, she became the first female driver to win a pole in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race.
With racing in her blood, Deegan grew up in the motorsports world with her father Brian Deegan holding legend status in motocross, she easily followed in the racing footsteps. Prior to her time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Deegan competed in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series – becoming the first female to compete and win a championship in the off road series.
She has been a part of two of NASCAR’s top programs for young and up-and-coming drivers including the NASCAR Next class and NASCAR Drive For Diversity program.
Deegan is also a part of the Toyota Driver Development program, which helps develop young drivers advance their careers through the racing ranks. The program has produced drivers such as Erik Jones and Christopher Bell – both whom are NASCAR national champions.
Deegan has two more NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races remaining this season. She will look to make the most of those opportunities in what has already been a dream rookie season for the young racer.
Leigh Anne Sessions