Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Is Hailie Deegan Ready To Jump Up to Xfinity?

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

AM Racing announced on Thursday that Hailie Deegan will join the team full-time in 2024 on a multi-year contract to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. She will drive the 15 car for the team, but a question many fans are asking about Hailie Deegan is if she is ready to jump up to Xfinity full-time. Let’s take a look at that question and analyze her career.

Her Performance in Lower Series

Hailie Deegan was a sensation as a teenager, and understandably so. In two seasons in the ARCA Menards Series West (then known as the K&N Pro Series), Deegan won three races with five poles, 25 top-10s, and 13 top-5s in 28 races. She then moved up to the ARCA Menards Series and did reasonably well with 21 top-10s in 26 races with a third-place points finish in 2020.

Unfortunately, she hit a snag in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. She ran for David Gilliland in 2021 and 2022, recording only three top-10 finishes in 45 races. She then moved on to ThorSport in 2023, and her performance has not improved as she only has two top-10s so far while every one of her teammates has made the Playoffs.

However, she also made her Xfinity Series debut for Bobby Dotter as well at Las Vegas in 2022. This is a team that won a race with Cole Custer that year, and Deegan, in her first start, finished a respectable 13th on the lead lap.

This performance has raised an interesting argument about Hailie Deegan. She had a solid amount of success in the lower series in more typical stock cars, but, she has struggled in Trucks. Is it possible that Deegan should move up because the Xfinity car fits her driving style better?

The “Certain Cars Fit Better for Drivers than Others” Argument

Now, it is true that each race car in all of NASCAR’s three National Touring Series drives completely different from others. A Truck, an Xfinity car, and a Cup car are all completely different cars with completely different design philosophies.

The Cup Series car is as modern of a race car as you can get, and it mimics cars like V8 supercars. The Xfinity Series car is closer to the design philosophy of the old COT Cup car from two generations back, which ran from 2007 until 2012 in NASCAR’s highest division. The Truck Series is NASCAR’s best effort to make a pickup truck a race car, and the trucks visually look fairly similar to the original trucks from 1995.

There are instances, albeit rare instances, where drivers perform better in higher series than they did in the lower series. The most glaring example is Jimmie Johnson, who was mediocre in the Xfinity Series before winning seven Cup Series Championships. Now, back then, the Xfinity cars and the Cup cars were much more similar to each other, so, this may not be the best example.

Cole Custer is someone who you could argue is proof of this. He went winless in his only full-time Truck Series season, but he did win two races in part-time efforts in the years prior. Still, he was never a serious Championship threat as a Truck Series driver.

However, it’s rare that someone does not race well in the Truck Series and then they magically find themselves in the upper series. It’s happened before, sort of, but, it’s just incredibly uncommon. Pretty much everyone who is successful at the highest levels of the sport has had generally high levels of success in the lower series.

Maybe Hailie Deegan is different, and it is possible that this change of scenery could be what she needs. However, a guarantee this is not.

Is She Ready?

Ultimately, we will have to wait and see, and Deegan will have time to prove herself as she signed a multi-year contract. However, her poor Truck Series performance is going to mean she will have to go to great lengths to prove herself.

However, she has that opportunity with AM Racing. Will it work out?

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts