DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Hailie Deegan is a rising star in the racing world.
Michael Self came in first place at Daytona International Speedway during the ARCA Series season opener Saturday, while Deegan made history, the Associated Press reports.
By crossing the finish line second, Deegan, 18, tied the best finish by a woman at Daytona and managed to match the best finish for a woman in an ARCA race. In the 1999 ARCA race at Daytona, Shawna Robinson finished second after starting fifth.
Deegan celebrated her achievement on pit road with her parents.
“Nothing could have been better for me,” Deegan said. “Of course you want to win, but this was a victory for me.”
She said she was nervous about her first Daytona race, and her mom backed her up, saying “she crushed it out there.”
Self led 60 out of 80 laps in the first Speedweeks race, kicking off the 2020 racing season.
Deegan’s career really started to take off after she won three times in the K&N series over the last three years.
When she rolled in to Daytona, she had a new team, new manufacturers supporting her and a full-time ride in the ARCA series.
She made the switch from Toyota to Ford at the end of 2019 and landed a full-time ride with DGR-Crosley. That opportunity may lead her to races in NASCAR’s truck series this year.