Hailie Deegan has joined the Ford Performance stable. On Tuesday, Ford announced Deegan, the first female driver to win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (now ARCA Menards Series West), has become a development driver for the programme. For 2020, she will race under the Blue Oval for DGR-Crosley in the ARCA Menards Series and Multimatic Motorsports in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“I could not be more excited to join Ford Performance and DGR-Crosley,” Deegan stated. “It became clear quickly that I align with the Ford Performance vision of driver development and our shared drive to win. It is also extra special to get to race with Ford, a family company, that already had ties to my family. Growing up watching my dad race a Ford, and now to be able to do the same thing is very cool.”
For the last two seasons, Deegan was part of the Toyota Racing Development group, driving for Bill McAnally Racing in the Pro Series West. A former off-road racer, she finished fifth and third in points with three victories and top-ten finishes in all but five career races. She also has fourteen starts in the Pro Series East (now ARCA Menards Series East) between 2018 and 2019 with three top tens, and six starts in the ARCA Menards Series with Venturini Motorsports with four top tens.
Like his daughter, motocross star Brian Deegan has ties to the Ford camp. From 2011 to 2016, he drove Ford Fiestas in the now-defunct Global RallyCross Championship, while he has also seen action in a Ford Raptor in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.
“Hailie has shown in her brief time behind the wheel of a stock car that she’s got what it takes to be successful,” Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook said. “Our goal is to put her on a path to realize our shared goal of winning championships and part of that is gaining experience on tracks such as road courses and superspeedways. We feel this year will serve as a good foundation for what lies ahead.”
As a Ford development driver, Deegan’s 2020 schedule will consist of a full-time ARCA Menards Series schedule with DGR-Crosley, driving the #4 Ford Fusion with Monster Energy sponsorship, and a limited slate in a Multimatic Ford Mustang GT4 in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. In the latter, she will run the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in late January, sharing the car with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and fellow Ford development racer Chase Briscoe.
Like Deegan, DGR-Crosley switched from Toyota to Ford after 2019. The team currently fields full-time drivers in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, with former drag racing champion Tanner Gray slated to compete for Rookie of the Year. It is unknown if Deegan will run Truck races of her own.
“Today is a huge day for our organization,” DGR-Crosley co-owner David Gilliland commented in a team release. “It’s been really impressive to see what Hailie has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. With her joining our Ford Performance driver development program at DGR-Crosley, the potential for success is endless. I’m super excited to get the 2020 season started.”