Hailie Deegan slipped underneath the car of Jagger Jones on the final lap to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season-opening race late Thursday night at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It was the only lap the 17-year-old Deegan led. The victory is her second career win in the series. Deegan won her first career series race last September with a last-lap pass at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway. She is the only woman to win a K&N Pro Series West race.
NBCSN will air the race at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday (March 5).
MORE: Hailie Deegan: I put my helmet on the same way everyone else does
MORE: Jagger Jones set to make own racing mark in K&N debut
Jones, the grandson of famed racer Parnelli Jones, was seeking the win in his first career start. Jones led entering the final lap but was pinched by the lapped car of Kenny Bumbera entering Turn 1. That allowed Deegan to close and get underneath Jones’ car and make the winning pass off Turn 2. Jones charged into Turn 3 and hit Deegan’s car in the back but she held on to win.
“I thought … (Jones) is so far away, I was thinking something good is going to have to happen for me to win this race,” Deegan told NASCAR Home Tracks after the race. “He slowly started coming back, slowly starting coming back, but I’m like it’s not enough, we’re not going to catch him by the end.
“The lappers started coming up, and I was like, ‘OK, they’re helping us, they’re helping us.’ They started pulling him back, pulling him back, pulling him back. I was like, man, watch this come down to the last lap again. I’m not coming home in second. We did that last year. I ain’t going to do that again.
“I had to do something to make the move. So I shoved my nose in there, squiggled my way through that corner and just parked around the bottom of (Turns) 3 and 4 and got it done.”
Jones finished second in the 100-lap race. Joey Tanner placed third.
Jones told NASCAR Home Tracks he didn’t have a problem with Deegan’s move.
“Oh I think her move was fine,” Jones said. “I mean she didn’t really do anything too bad. It’s just the lapped car cut me off in front. It just pushed me up the track. Once that all happened she had a whole lane to herself. It was kind of given to her, which is unfortunate on the last lap. It just sucks sometimes.”
The next K&N Pro Series West race will be March 30 at Irwindale (California) Speedway.