Hailie Deegan just finished off her first season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but she has her eyes set on the future. Deegan revealed that her dream scenario/long-term goal is to race for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Deegan provided the update during the latest episode of “I AM ATHLETE NASCAR.” She sat down with hosts Channing Crowder, Brandon Marshall, and Chad Johnson to discuss growing up with Brian Deegan as her father, realizing that her ultimate goal was to race in NASCAR, and balancing her business responsibilities with her racing career. Deegan also revealed that she wants to reach the Cup Series and race for Hall of Famer Tony Stewart.
“I’ve never met Tony Stewart before,” Deegan said during the November 8 episode. “But then I got to meet him, kind of build a relationship with him. Talking about cars and setups with Tony Stewart is a big deal for me. That’s definitely like a bucket list thing to do.
“After meeting him and seeing his personality and what he’s all about, that would be a dream — to run for Stewart-Haas. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but there’s kind of two Ford teams right now. Obviously, whatever team I’d end up at would be a great team, but that would be a goal.”
Deegan Has Already Competed With Stewart 3 Times
Smoke hasn’t competed in NASCAR since the 2016 season, but he has faced off with Deegan on the track. They both battled during three races of the inaugural Camping World SRX Series season.
Deegan first made her SRX debut during the June 19 race at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. She finished second overall behind Stewart while replacing Tony Kanaan. She returned to the series at Slinger Speedway on July 10, finishing fourth while Marco Andretti won. The only other drivers ahead of her were Luke Fenhaus (second) and Stewart (third).
Deegan’s final start of the inaugural SRX season came at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. She joined a stacked list of drivers that included Stewart, defending Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, and four-time Indy 500 winner Hélio Castroneves among others. She finished 10th in the 12-car field while Elliott won.
Deegan Also Revealed Her Favorite NASCAR Driver
As one of the younger drivers in NASCAR, there are some obvious questions about Deegan’s inspiration. Does she have a favorite driver that she respects for any number of reasons? The answer, as it turns out, is Kyle Larson.
“I would say when it comes to the actual racing, race craft, there is someone that — if you could be one person’s driving style for the rest of your life — I would have to say Kyle Larson,” Deegan explained during the “I AM ATHLETE NASCAR” episode. “What he is able to do, and especially with the opportunity that he has now in top-tier equipment, it’s phenomenal.
“Every race we watch him, what he does in that car is phenomenal. Whether he goes to dirt racing — any type of dirt car he races, he’s successful in. That’s someone that I want to be like.” Deegan continued and explained that a lot of drivers can’t succeed away from the asphalt ovals, but Larson is different.
Larson just capped off a season for the ages. He won 10 points-paying races in the Cup Series, as well as the All-Star Race, before ending the year as the champion. He lead 2,581 laps and broke Jeff Gordon’s 20-year record (2,320 laps) since the move to a 36-race schedule, he won five of the 10 playoff races, and he tied Stewart (2011 season) for the most wins in a single playoff run.
Along with his Cup Series success, Larson won a multitude of dirt track races. According to Matt Weaver of Racing America, he took the checkered flag in the Chili Bowl, Knoxville Nationals, and the King’s Royal along with many other events.