After wrecking out of her ARCA debut last month, 17-year-old NASCAR phenom Hailie Deegan said she was “done playing nice.”
Well, she wasn’t kidding.
Deegan earned her second K&N Pro Series west victory of the season Saturday night after bumping past teammate Derek Kraus in overtime at Colorado National Speedway. It was Deegan’s third victory in 19 K&N West Series starts.
Take a look at the controversial finish:
If you’ve followed Deegan throughout her incredibly young racing career, you know she’s not afraid to speak her mind.
Case in point: The video that she recorded after the race.
"I don't want to run my teammate like that, but also I didn't expect him to run me like that."Hailie Deegan offered her thougthts on the late-race contact between her and Derek Kraus. Deegan would go on to win the race.
Posted by NASCAR on NBC on Sunday, June 9, 2019
Make of that what you will.
Deegan’s personality has proven divisive among diehard NASCAR fans, many of whom believe she’s undeserving of the the massive hype she’s generated relative to her peers. Unsurprisingly, many believe Deegan simply is riding on the coattails of the recently retired Danica Patrick.
Of course, none of that is fair. Deegan is her own person, whose racing path is far different than that of Patrick’s.
Most importantly, the immediate success she’s enjoyed in the regional series suggests a talent capable of making it to — as well as succeeding in — NASCAR’s highest level.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images