DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 16: Hailie Deegan, driver of the #15 Klutch Vodka Ford, looks on in the garage area during qualifying for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Fresh from Florida 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2024 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Hailie Deegan's First Xfinity Race at Daytona Ends Early

There were plenty of high hopes at Daytona for Hailie Deegan, who was making her first Xfinity Series start for AM Racing as the full-time driver of the team's No. 15 Ford.

In one of the more highly anticipated Xfinity debuts in some time, Deegan was looking to keep her nose clean. Unfortunately, those high hopes only lasted 23 laps, as the 22-year-old got caught up in a hard crash with NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez.

Fox Sports NASCAR caught the wreck with a replay showing Suarez losing control of his No. 14 Chevy, hitting the wall and spinning in front of others. Deegan was one of the first cars to come up on Suarez and slammed into his rear end destroying the front of her Ford Mustang Darkhorse.

The major crash also knocked Sam Mayer and Kyle Weatherman out of the race early.

Deegan described what happened in the incident while chatting with Noah Lewis from TSJ101 Sports.

"I saw two guys start wrecking in front of me a little bit before the entry into one," Deegan said. "I started whoa-ing it down a little bit. I was playing it cautious at the beginning of the race, just trying to stay back a little bit and see how everyone was racing. I was hanging back a little bit and the guy behind me was hanging back just two or three car lengths off me. When I checked up, I got hit just a little bit on entry as I was whoa-ing down it started my momentum back up. I tried to get it slowed down but couldn't in time. It is what it is. ..."—Zt4x-8TJU?si=fGlqrUg2ey-kpK1E

Deegan also talked about how she has tried so many different strategies at Daytona and they just never have worked out.

"It is the hardest part," Deegan said. "I've had a bad relationship with Daytona ever since my first truck race here. It's been hard for me because I've never figured out how to conquer or figure out what the right way is."

Regardless, she looks and sounds confident in her team, and with all the support she is getting, Deegan is beyond ready to get past her shortcomings at Daytona.

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