Performance is what gets you work in the racing business, and Hailie Deegan’s performance in the ARCA Menards Series West (formerly K&N Pro Series West) in 2018, when she became the first female driver to win a race, has allowed the 18-year-old opportunities that could take her to the highest level of closed-wheel motorsports.
In a joint announcement, Ford Performance Motorsports and the DGR-Crosley team announced Deegan’s inclusion in Ford’s development driver program. Deegan will make her Ford competition debut on Jan. 24, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway, when she races a Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT4 as part of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge endurance race. She’ll take part in IMSA’s “Roar Before the 24” test session in early January.
This Ford Performance on-track debut is only a portion of Deegan’s Ford Performance program, as she’ll be part of the DGR-Crosley race team, which announced it would be running Ford products during the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season. Driving the No. 4 Ford Fusion, Deegan is scheduled to compete in all 20 ARCA Menards Series races and she’s competing in a select grouping of contests with Multimatic in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“Hailie has shown, in her brief time behind the wheel of a stock car, that she’s got what it takes to be successful,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. “Our goal is to put her on a path to realize our shared goal of winning championships. Part of that is gaining experience on tracks such as road courses and superspeedways. We feel this year will serve as a good foundation for what lies ahead.”
In her first two ARCA Menards Series West seasons, Deegan earned three wins; in 2019 she went to Victory Lane twice and finished third in the final points tally. In 14 starts last season, she had three poles, eight top-five and 11 top-10 results. Deegan made six ARCA Menards Series national starts with a best finish of fifth at Lucas Oil Raceway outside Indianapolis.
“I could not be more excited to join Ford Performance and DGR-Crosley,” Deegan said. “It became clear quickly that I align with the Ford Performance vision of driver development and our shared drive to win. It is so extra special to get to race with Ford, a family company that already had ties to my family. Growing up watching my dad race a Ford, and now to be able to do the same thing, is very cool.”
Brian Deegan drove a Ford Fiesta in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship, winning what turned out to be the series’ finale at San Pedro, Calif. two years ago. Deegan’s father won a gold medal in the Rallycross competition at X Games 17 in 2011 and has driven a Ford Raptor as part of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series.
Hailie Deegan recognizes the importance, too, of working with David Gilliland and the DGR-Crosley team. “It’s important to me to be teamed up with a hardworking group such as DGR, with like-minded vision and goals. We are all committed to work as hard as it takes to finish on top. I look forward to the upcoming season and learning as much as possible to get closer to accomplishing my goals of winning races.”
Gilliland, co-owner of DGR Crosley, noted, “This is a huge day for our organization. It’s been really impressive to see what Hailie has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. With her joining our Ford Performance driver development program at DGR-Crosley, the potential for success is endless. I’m super excited to get the 2020 season started.”
The start of 2020 means an extended sojourn in Daytona Beach, Fla. for Hailie Deegan; after her initial IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Ford Mustang start, partnering with fellow Ford Performance development driver Chase Briscoe, she begins her competitive affiliation with DGR-Crosley’s No. 4 Ford Fusion, Saturday, February 8, again at Daytona International Speedway as the ARCA Menards Series begins its 20-race campaign.
Leave a Reply