Deegan started 20th overall in the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Ford Mustang. She then simply went out and kept her car clean while facing off with the best drivers in the Xfinity Series. Deegan also saved the Ford after getting caught between Austin Hill and AJ Allmendinger late in the race. She ultimately crossed the finish line 13th overall and capped off a memorable day.
This 13th-place finish marked the best Xfinity Series debut by a female driver. As TobyChristie.com first noted, the previous best debut was a 15th-place finish by Shawna Robinson during the 1991 season. She turned in this finish at Orange County Speedway.
Along with making history in her second national NASCAR series, Deegan also came within reach of another significant achievement. The previous best debut by a female driver across the national series was an 11th-place finish by Ethel Mobley. She turned in this performance on July 10, 1949, at the Daytona Beach Road Course in what was the NASCAR Strictly Stock Series — now the Cup Series.
Deegan Remains Uncertain About Her Racing Future
With Deegan turning in a strong performance in the Xfinity Series, there were obvious questions about her future. Will she move up to the Xfinity Series and join one of its teams? Will she move to a different team with David Gilliland Racing potentially joining forces with Toyota? There is no clear answer at the moment.
As Deegan explained to media members after the Xfinity Series race, there is one massive hurdle in the way. She has to find funding to pay for the more expensive seat in the Xfinity Series. Drivers have to bring sponsors to the table to secure opportunities due to the current deal between NASCAR and its teams, and she continues to seek some options.
“I mean, always when you run great, it helps deals for the future,” Deegan said. “But at the end of the day, running Xfinity costs a very big bill and sponsors pay that bill. Just trying to get the funding set is definitely tough, but we’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing.”
Deegan Walked Away With Some Important Information
While Deegan does not know if she will compete in the Xfinity Series again after a historic day, she does have some extra knowledge for this potential opportunity. She specifically learned about the significant handling differences between the Ford Mustang and the Ford F-150.
“I think the biggest thing that stuck out to me is the fact that you’re able to move around on mile-and-a-half [tracks],” Deegan told NBC Sports reporter Parker Kligerman. “On the truck stuff, you kind of just plant there, hold it down, and go.
“I think being in the Xfinity car — having to work for it more, having to drive out of stuff a lot more, and just being on that edge, constantly driving off that edge — it changes a lot of things. Being able to finesse, like throttle, brake, deciding what to do, dump out of it, crack the throttle. There’s just so many different things that you can do whereas, like the trucks, it’s just one lane, one way.”
Along with the significantly different handling, Deegan also saw a different type of competition. She realized that there is a lot more “respect” in the Xfinity Series than in the Camping World Truck Series, which led to a much cleaner race that featured one natural caution.