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Ford Performance NASCAR: Hailie Deegan NASCAR Zoom Media Availability (Full Transcipts)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Media Availability | Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Hailie Deegan, driver of the No. 1 Monster Ford F-150 in the Camping World Truck Series, made her full-season series debut last Friday at Daytona. The 19-year-old Ford Developmental Driver, is back in action this Friday night, again at Daytona, but this time on the road course. Deegan participated in a NASCAR Media Zoom call Tuesday afternoon.

HAILIE DEEGAN, No. 1 Monster Ford F-150: IS THERE SOMEONE THAT HAS REALLY HELPED YOU OUT AS YOU TRANSITION INTO THE TRUCK SERIES?

“One person that I am super thankful for that has been helping me a lot with going over footage with me, coming to every sim session, is David Ragan. He has been crucial for my development. Just the level of experience he has and all the knowledge he has that he has been able to feed to me has been so great.”

HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE YOUR OPENER ON SUNDAY?

“I think that going out there I kind of had a lot of goals as in just being smooth, not being the driver that is a little out of control and bouncing on and off the line. I think with my spotter, TJ, in my ear the whole time and coaching me through it. I feel like we ran a pretty good race until our little incident.”

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO SOCIAL MEDIA GOING FORWARD?

“I love social media and I love showing people the behind the scenes of my life. Everything that goes into my career — I just started a YouTube channel and am doing a lot of videos on there both racing and personal life — I enjoy it so much and I think that is something a lot of drivers lack, showing everything that goes into it. I am trying to be that driver that shows everything that it takes to be a race car driver.”

IS THE PLAN FOR TJ TO BE YOUR SPOTTER ALL YEAR?

“Yes, all year.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCRETE THINGS YOU ARE TRYING TO LEARN FOR THIS YEAR? GOALS OVERALL?

“That is something that I had a long conversation with my crew chief, Mike, about. Making our goals for the whole year and making them not goals like going out there and getting a top-five, not goals like that. Actual, real goals like learning stuff about the trucks. Learning how the mechanics work. Building a relationship with my crew guys, earning the respect of the other drivers, things like that.”

WHO MANAGES THE BUSINESS SIDE OF YOUR RACING?

“When it comes to the business side, I am heavily involved in it and also my manager Bob (Walker). We have grown up together ever since I was little. He is friends with my dad from Nebraska and he managed my dad his whole career. Ever since I was little he managed my small deals and as they got bigger and bigger I noticed that he was really the person that I trusted with my career in his hands. Me and Bob have worked together a long time.”

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE BUSINESS SIDE? HOW TOUGH IS THAT?

“I think you always have challenges there. That is the thing about NASCAR racing, it is a very expensive sport to be involved in. Getting sponsors right now is a little tough with COVID and everything and the limited people at the track makes it a little more difficult. I think that is why social media is so crucial. You have to sell the sponsor that they are going to get something out of it when they sponsor you. Having that social media power makes it a little easier on my side.”

HOW DID YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH DAVID RAGAN COME ABOUT?

“He is actually at the Ford Performance Technical Center a lot down in Concord (NC) and we aligned paths through Ford. Ford saw how much he was helping me and the information he was giving me. I think going into the Truck Series this year, Ford stuck him with me with the mindset of working together and doing the best we can together.”

WHAT SPECIFICALLY CAN HE HELP YOU WITH?

“His experience and knowledge. Everything he knows about every single track. I think going to all these tracks, I am very new to them. A lot of them I haven’t raced at before. Him having experience there and a lot of notes that he can give me is crucial.”

YOU MADE A COMMENT ON YOUR IN-CAR RADIO ABOUT HOW SMART YOU HAVE TO BE IN THESE RACES. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE SUCH AN EXPERIENCED GROUP OF PEOPLE AROUND YOU GUIDING YOU?

“It is tough, it is really tough. I think every race I go to I try to be like a sponge and absorb all the information I can. Having someone like TJ (Majors) on my team is amazing. I like people on the radio that talk alot and he does exactly that. I told him at the beginning of the year when we first started going footage for Daytona, ‘Hey, I need you to practically drive this car for me because I have no clue how these trucks handle on superspeedways.’”

HOW MUCH DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE IN OTHER SERIES ON THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE HELP YOU FOR THIS WEEKEND IN THE TRUCK?

“I think what ARCA has helped me with is learning the track at the Daytona Road Course. I think where I need to learn is how the truck actually handles. I think once you get out there, we have no practice and no qualifying and go straight into the race. The first couple laps will be about being smart, staying out of the chaos and not overdriving and just hitting our marks and learning how the truck feels and what I need out of it.”

HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THIS WEEKEND WITH NO PRACTICE?

“Man, I have put so much time into the Daytona Road Course on the Fod simulator. I am so thankful that Ford has given me access to that. Without that, I would not be anywhere near as ready as I am now to go to new tracks without practice. Having access to the simulator and go there every week and having David Ragan there on top of it has helped me so much.”

YOU FINISHED 6TH ON THE ROAD COURSE IN THE ARCA RACE LAST SEASON, WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM THAT RACE THO THIS ONE?

“I think something that a lot of people are talking about, or even my teammates are talking about the Daytona Road Course is that it lacks grip. It lacked grip in the ARCA race because it rained before and the track was still wet and so I think that is what I am going into that race, expecting it to lack a lot of grip.”

LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT RACES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST THIS SEASON?

“I think when it comes to racing I am looking forward to, you obviously look forward to the ones that you think you will do the best and be the most comfortable at and I think going to the dirt tracks will be really fun. Bristol, I am really excited for the Bristol dirt race.”

HAVE YOU BEEN TO KNOXVILLE BEFORE? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HAVING TWO DIRT RACES? DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AN ADVANTAGE?

“I have never raced at Knoxville and have never raced at Bristol on the dirt, I don’t think anyone has. Going into these dirt races isn’t about having an advantage. I think I am very disadvantaged when it comes to all these race tracks because I haven’t been there before and I don’t have a lot of experience in these trucks. They handle a lot different than ARCA cars. That is something I am having to learn every single race. I think going there I will be a little more comfortable than a lot of the pavement tracks but I don’t think as comfortable as a lot of people will be.”


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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