Hailie Deegan is going to make the jump up to Xfinity in 2024 with AM Racing. Regardless of how people feel about this move, it is fair to talk about expectations for Hailie Deegan in 2024. What are realistic expectations for Hailie Deegan in 2024?
What AM Racing as a Team Expects
AM Racing is in the midst of its first season as a race team in the Xfinity Series. Overall, they have had a solid season as a team to this point with Brett Moffitt. For a first-year team, 9 top-10 finishes and a top-15 spot in the standings is very good. Now, Hailie Deegan and Brett Moffitt bring very different experiences to the table.
While Moffitt is a veteran with a Craftsman Truck Series Championship, Deegan is only 22 years old, and she has only one Xfinity Series race under her belt. Therefore, it is tough to expect Deegan to replicate exactly what Moffitt did in year one. However, AM Racing does have the goal of expanding to two cars in 2024, so, maybe Deegan does not have to replicate exactly what type of a season that Moffitt did. Rather, she needs to be a solid driver.
Expectations for Hailie Deegan the Driver
Hailie Deegan has not been very good through her three seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. She has only 5 top-10 finishes in 67 starts, and her average finish to this point is 21.3 in top equipment. That’s not a great record, and she needs to do better if she wants to continue to work her way up the ladder.
She is joining a race team that has decent equipment, but they are not a top-level Xfinity Series team. Therefore, Deegan will likely not be under pressure to win races immediately like she did while driving for David Gilliland and ThorSport in the Truck Series. Therefore, Deegan does not have quite as much pressure on her now as she once did.
However, Deegan started 20th and finished 13th in her lone Xfinity Series start for Bobby Dotter in 2022. For that being her only start, that is a very good run, especially considering that the car she was in was not top equipment. Therefore, it gives her and AM Racing both some optimism.
What Are Realistic Expectations?
For Deegan, a successful season is, first off, a season where she completes as many laps as possible. One of the most important parts of being a successful driver is making sure you keep your car on the track. The more laps you complete and the fewer times you crash out, the more money you save car owners and sponsors.
As far as finishes, Deegan finishing in the top 15 in points would be a great season, but finishing in the top 20 would not be a failure. The same goes for her race finishes as well. If she can finish in the front half of the field on a consistent basis early in the season, she can work her way up from there.
Maybe at the end of the season, she can start competing for top-10 finishes, but, that will be tough to do from the outset. If she is consistently running around 25th every week and she does not improve, that is a cause for concern.
It will be interesting to see how Hailie Deegan does in 2024. She may not win races out of the gate, but she will have an opportunity to show what she can do. Will she succeed in 2024?