Hailie Deegan is one of NASCAR’s most marketable rising stars, a talented, magnetic 18-year-old who is better at using social media than probably anybody else in the sport. Fair or not, she’s viewed as NASCAR’s “next Danica Patrick” — a label that, while flawed for multiple reasons, has generated undeniable buzz for the California native.
However, not even Deegan is immune to the sponsorship woes that so many in NASCAR have endured in recent years.
Deegan, who has spent the past two years competing in both K&N Pro Series as well as the ARCA Menards Series, has yet to announce her racing plans for the 2020 season. The Bill McAnally Racing driver will wrap up her 2019 K&N schedule Thursday night when she drives for DGR-Crosley at Bristol Motor Speedway.
While there’s little doubt Deegan will amass the funds necessary to field a car next year, the teen phenom currently is finding it hard to find sponsors willing to commit long-term.
“People think it’s easy, think it’s ‘Oh, you get media, you get attention, you get sponsors.’ It’s not that easy,” Deegan said Monday during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Skinner Round-up,” as transcribed by NBC Sports . “At the end of the day there’s not usually just one person that covers all your funding, it takes help from a lot of areas. I’m really just looking at finding partners who want to really commit with me for the long run. So it’s definitely been a struggle and can already tell it’s going to be a struggle in the future.”
NASCAR fans are eager to see how Deegan’s career progresses, particularly when/if she ascends to one of the national series. There have been varying reports indicating her debut in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series could arrive as early as next season.
And while Deegan herself would like to compete in a trucks race, her primary focus remains on that which she already has experience in.
“If I had the dream scenario, unlimited budget, which not many people have, which I don’t have, I wish, I’d say I’d be running full ARCA with K&N East,” Deegan said. “Maybe throw in Sonoma for the West Series. … I haven’t looked at the East schedule yet. It all depends on when the schedules get released.
“One thing I really want to do is race (the) Eldora (Gander Outdoors) Truck race. That’s like a dream goal for me for next year.”
Deegan has 22 top-10s, including three victories, in 27 K&N Pro Series West races, though she’s finished in the top 10 only three times in 14 East Series races.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images