What’s Happening?

Hailie Deegan joins the NASCAR Xfinity Series full-time in 2024, and she is under a microscope. She struggled mightily in her three full-time seasons in the Craftsman Truck Series, and many are wondering if she can replicate the success she had in the lower series.

What does Deegan have to prove in 2024?

  • Hailie Deegan joins AM Racing full-time in 2024 in the 15-car. Joe Williams, who worked with her in her lone Xfinity Series start, will be the crew chief.
  • Deegan struggles in the Truck Series from 2021-2023. She failed to make the Playoffs despite driving top equipment, and she only managed 5 top-10 finishes in 69 starts.
  • Hailie Deegan has a legion of fans on social media, but, fans are looking for her performance to improve. People have not been impressed by her recent Truck Series performance.

Can She Get the Most Out of Her Equipment?

The reality is that Hailie Deegan has not proven that she can consistently run well in NASCAR. In the last three seasons, she has failed to record a single top-5 finish. This came in DGR-Crossly (now TRICON Garage) and ThorSport Racing equipment.

DGR-Crossly won a race while Deegan was there, and Corey Heim dominated in that same equipment in 2023 after Deegan left. ThorSport had all of their Trucks qualify for the Playoffs in 2023 except for Deegan.

Frankly, she hasn’t proven that she can compete at any of the top levels of the sport in top equipment. She has not gotten the most out of the equipment she was driving, and, changing that perception needs to be her goal for 2024.

Deegan joins AM Racing, who is not a team contending for wins every week. However, Brett Moffitt still recorded 9 top-10s for the team, so, it is a team that should reasonably expect Deegan to run in the top-15 or top-20 on a weekly basis. Maybe she can score a top-10 here or there on a lucky day.

She needs to get everything that AM Racing car is capable of, and she has proven she can run top-15 in the Xfinity Series. She finished 13th in her lone Xfinity start at Las Vegas in 2022, and, that needs to become consistent. If that is the exception instead of the rule, Deegan’s stock will continue to plummet.

Can Ford Regain Trust In Her?

Ford Performance’s Mark Rushbrook spoke to NASCAR media in November. Both comments in full are listed in the article above. There were a couple of things related to Hailie Deegan that were interesting.

First, he admitted that Deegan was not getting the consistent performance Ford wanted, which, is not a surprise. Later, he said that Ford actually puts Trucks over Xfinity in their order of priority for the NASCAR development series.

Does Ford consider this a promotion or a demotion for Deegan? It’s reasonable to say that Ford sees this more as a demotion or a lateral move than moving upwards. Rushbrook’s comments only prove that Ford wants to see improvement from Deegan and quickly.

She needs to prove herself to her manufacturer. If Ford gives up on her, then she will have a hard time fighting her way into a good ride. She is now in a lower-priority ride for Ford.

Still, Rushbrook did admit that Deegan’s Xfinity Series performance at Las Vegas in 2022 gave them optimism that the Xfinity cars suited Deegan’s style better. Ford is not giving up on Deegan, but, they are not happy with her current progress.

Hailie Deegan needs to prove herself to team owners and her own manufacturer in 2024. If she cannot perform to her car’s potential this year, then the future in NASCAR may be bleak for her.