K&N Series

Hailie Deegan: ‘I see why a lot of these other girls haven’t made it’ in NASCAR

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Aggression has been the hallmark of Hailie Deegan’s three victories in the K&N Series.

Deegan believes it’s also crucial to any female driver’s NASCAR success.

“A lot of people assume about being a girl that they’re a little more laid back, they’re not as aggressive. They’re still trying to get to the same level of a guys’ aggression,” Deegan told NBC Sports’ Kathryn Tappen in the latest episode of the “On Her Turf” podcast. “But I think even if you ask other guys, they’ll say I’m an aggressive driver just because I know what it’s going to take to make it. And I see why a lot of these other girls haven’t made it, and I don’t want to make the same mistakes.

“I just want to make sure I do everything right. Because it’s going to take every piece. There’s a reason why there isn’t a ton of girls racing NASCAR. It’s not like there’s no reason why. There’s obviously a reason why. So I just have to do everything right to make sure that I can make it to the top level.”

That’s meant a fitness program of distance running and weights for the Temecula, California, resident, who has won by making contact on last-lap passes at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway last year and Las Vegas and Colorado National Speedway this season.

There have been some Southern California mornings of 100-degree heat when Deegan said she wakes up thinking, “Oh God, I don’t want to run several miles,” but she pushes through because of her goal to become a winner in NASCAR’s top series.

“I think you have to have your priorities straight,” she said. “Are you focusing on looking good at the track or performing at the track? There’s a difference.

“You have to have every single priority straight. Are you there during the week to train? Or there to hang out with friends? There are so many pieces to the puzzle, and you have to be an aggressive personality. There are quite a few girls that just don’t have the aggression in their personality.”

Some of her aggression is innate as the daughter of freestyle motocross star Brian Deegan, who has “broken almost every bone in his body.

“I feel like I grew up in a very aggressive family, and my dad being from the motocross industry,” Hailie Deegan said. “It’s an aggressive, very tough sport. So that’s where I learned it from him. A lot of other girls don’t have their dads in racing, especially since I came from that motocross scene, it’s a lot more rough and tough. That’s how I was built up.”

She also learned to avoid bonding too much with other drivers.

“You don’t have any friends when you’re on the track,” said Deegan, who turns 18 next month. “Racing is competitive. They’re like frenemies. Everyone is there for a position to make it in the top series. You’re all competing for those positions, and it’s not like everyone will get one.”

During the podcast, Deegan also discusses:

–Having the support of Kevin Harvick;

–The best piece of advice she’s received;

–If anything scares her about racing;

–How she approaches social media;

–What she packs on the road.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the embed above, at the NBC Sports Scores app or by downloading on major platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play.

Brittney Zamora joins Hailie Deegan on K&N West team

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Bill McAnally Racing will field two female drivers in the K&N Pro Series West this season.

Brittney Zamora, a 19-year-old development driver for Toyota Racing Development from Kennewick, Washington, will be driving the No. 99 Camry for BMR.

Zamora will join teammate Hailie Deegan, who made history last year as the first woman to win a K&N Series race.

Zamora, who will be sponsored by ENEOS and NAPA filters,  was named rookie of the year last season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Washington and won her second consecutive championship in the Northwest Super Late Model Series.

“Bill McAnally Racing is an elite NASCAR K&N Pro Series team who has won multiple championships and I’m proud to drive for them,” Zamora said in a release. “This is a dream opportunity for me and I’m here to win races and compete at the highest level every day.”

Zamora will attempt to be the fourth straight driver to win K&N West rookie of the year for BMR, following Deegan, Derek Kraus and Todd Gilliland.

Said BMR president Bill McAnally, whose team has a record eight championships and 90 wins in K&N: “We are lucky to have the opportunity to add a quality driver of Brittney’s prestige to our team for 2019. We are already looking forward to the competition meetings because this may be as talented of a group as we have ever had on this team.”

Zamora and Deegan will be teamed with Kraus, who also is part of the latest NASCAR Next class. The trio also will compete in select K&N Pro Series East races, starting with the Feb. 10 race at New Smyrna Speedway.