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Was Hailie Deegan REALLY The Problem at AM Racing?

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What’s Happening?

On Monday, AM Racing started off the week with a bombshell announcement that they had parted ways with driver Hailie Deegan. While most people, including myself, immediately looked at Deegan’s performance and took it at face value, Deegan’s former crew chief, Joe Williams, is unconvinced Deegan was the problem. Was he right?

  • Deegan and AM Racing had a turbulent time together. This included woeful performance, a crew chief change, and a driver change for the Chicago Street Race. Joey Logano replaced Deegan at the Street Race and recorded the team’s best qualifying run and best finish of the season.
  • Joe Williams was Deegan’s crew chief for the first 12 races of the season. He also worked with AM Racing in 2023 when Brett Moffitt was driving, yet the team moved on from him. Since leaving the team, Williams has worked with Ryan Sieg at RSS Racing.
  • Fans are still not convinced that Deegan wasn’t the problem. Many still believe her lack of performance tells the story.

What Deegan’s Former Crew Chief Had to Say

Hailie Deegan announced her departure from AM Racing in a social media post on multiple platforms, including Facebook. On Facebook, Joe Williams gave his take on the situation, replying to a comment that stated, “Hope the crew chief who got fired gets his job back.”

That’s a strong statement from Williams, especially noting that it’s on Deegan’s official Facebook page. When the move was initially made to relieve Williams of crew chief duties, many wondered if the relationship between Deegan and Willams had fractured, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Williams even indicated that Deegan did not want a crew chief swap.

Deegan’s performance shows that she did slightly better with Williams as the crew chief than with Matt Lucas. Here are how her stats compare between the two crew chiefs.

Crew ChiefTop-15sTop-20sAvg. StartAvg. FinishPoints Per Race
Joe Williams (12 Races)2427.025.511.6
Matt Lucas (5 Races)0033.830.07.0

Granted, Deegan was still not great with Williams atop the pit box, and AM Racing still had a massive downturn in performance compared to when Brett Moffitt was in the car in 2023. However, the crew chief change, which Deegan didn’t even want, only hurt her. Guess who the crew chief was when Moffitt clicked off consistent top-15s and top-20s in 2023, Joe Williams.

On another note, Williams’ comments suggest something is amiss internally at AM Racing. What exactly that is, we don’t know, but this might not have been the best situation for Deegan. Especially considering she, as a rookie, had to follow up with a former Truck Series Champion in Brett Moffitt.

The Bottom Line

It’s never just one thing that causes things to go wrong for a driver or a race team. Maybe the situation was not the best, but the bottom line is that a driver needs to perform. Hailie Deegan did not perform well; this was not the first time she underperformed.

Keep in mind she only recorded five top-10s in the Truck Series in 69 starts, with an average finish of 21.3. Those starts came for DGR-Crosley, now TRICON Garage, and ThorSport, both teams that won races while Deegan was there. ThorSport won the 2023 Truck Series Championship with Ben Rhodes.

Go all the way back to ARCA in 2020, where she failed to win a race. Yes, she finished third in the standings with 17 top-10s in 20 races, but she was one of only five drivers to compete full-time. She also drove for DGR-Crosley, a team with better equipment than most ARCA teams.

Deegan has not won a race since she won two in the ARCA Menards Series West in 2019. Unfortunately, to this point, she’s been one of many drivers who performed well in the lower series yet flamed out on the way up for one reason or another.

It’s unfair to blame Deegan for all of AM Racing’s problems, and hopefully, she can find a better scenario for herself. However, she has to answer for her lack of performance at some point. While she has flashed potential at times, it’s not been nearly consistent enough.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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Joshua Lipowski

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