NASCAR stated that it will require Hailie Deegan to take sensitivity training before the start of the 2021 season after her use of the R-word during an online racing event Sunday night.
The word she used is a derogatory term for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Video of Deegan uttering the term was posted on social media Sunday night. Deegan issued an apology on social media on Sunday night.
“Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch,” Deegan stated. “It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it. There’s no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.”
Ford issued a statement Monday: “We are aware of this inappropriate comment. Hailie immediately acknowledged this mistake, has apologized and promised to be much more thoughtful in the future.”
Section 12.8.e of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rule Book states that “NASCAR members shall not make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition.”
The 19-year-old Deegan will be a rookie in the Camping World Truck Series this season. The series’ first race is scheduled to be Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway.
Deegan is in her second year as a Ford development driver. She competed in the ARCA Series last season. Her runner-up finish last year at Daytona in her series debut tied for the best result by a female driver in that series. Deegan made her Truck debut last October, finishing 16th at Kansas Speedway. That set a record for highest finish by a female driver in her Truck Series debut.
Previously, she had been a development driver for Toyota. She was the first female to win an ARCA West race when she did so in 2018.