Hailie Deegan’s day at Atlanta Motor Speedway came to an early end after a fire on the No. 1 David Gilliland Racing Ford F-150. She did not take part in an interview, but she has since provided some frightening information about the incident that occurred before Corey Heim won his first career Camping World Truck Series race.
Deegan tweeted out some details about the race-ending issues after her exit from the infield care center. She first explained that she is now okay, and then she noted that contact from the No. 91 of Colby Howard caused the initial flat tire that sent her down pit road.
“I was on fire for multiple laps,” Deegan stated in her note. “I started suffocating and couldn’t breathe when the fire extinguisher and black smoke engulfed the truck on pit road. I couldn’t get out because I couldn’t see the window net.”
Deegan finished her note by explaining why she declined to take part in an interview with FOX Sports’ Jamie Howe. She said that she couldn’t say two words without choking or coughing.
NASCAR credited Deegan with a 36th-place finish after the fire brought an end to her afternoon with only 24 completed laps. The trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway was her second consecutive week finishing outside of the top 30 due to an incident. She also finished 33rd at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after getting caught up in a wreck started by other drivers.
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Deegan Has To Make Major Moves While Pursuing Points
Deegan’s rookie season was a complete learning experience. She competed on the tracks for the first time in her Truck Series career without having the added benefit of practice sessions, but she still finished 17th in points with an average finish of 20.9 and one top-10.
The 2022 season has started in an entirely different manner for the defending Most Popular Driver. Deegan has only completed one of the three races, a 17th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.
With two DNFs and an average finish of 28.7, Deegan is now buried in the points standings. She is 28th overall, well below the 10-driver elimination line that determines the playoff field.
The second-year driver will have an opportunity to gain points on March 26 when she returns to Circuit of the Americas outside of Austin, Tex. She previously took on the road course for the first time during the 2021 season, and she turned in a 14th-place finish in the No. 1 DGR Ford. Now Deegan will return to the road course in pursuit of some crucial points.
Multiple Drivers Dealt With Tire Issues Early
Deegan was not the only driver to deal with tire issues early in the Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Matt DiBenedetto also had to make multiple pit stops in the No. 25 Rackley W.A.R. entry after contact with the wall.
DiBenedetto started the race sixth overall, and he showed speed on the opening lap while pushing Stewart Friesen to the front of the pack. However, the situation changed when he attempted to move to the outside. He got loose and hit the outside wall, causing a tire rub on the No. 25.
DiBenedetto had to make an unscheduled pit stop for fresh tires and repairs, but it was not the only visit to the stall. He had to return once again while continuing to deal with tire issues. DiBenedetto dropped to 12 laps behind the pack, and he spent the remainder of the race trying to gain ground when possible.
The Truck Series rookie finished 30th overall after fighting to recover from the issues on the opening lap. This outing ended his strong start to the season that featured top-10s at both Daytona International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.