Hailie Deegan, who made NASCAR history when she became the first female driver to win a race in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series West (formerly K&N Pro Series West) in 2018, has signed a development contract to drive with Ford Performance.
The announcement was made during a press conference today at the Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, NC.
Deegan, 18, will be competing in multiple series during the 2020 season as part of the DGR-Crosley race team, which announced it was moving to Ford Performance last week. She will run all 20 races in the ARCA Menards Series with that organization and also select events in the Mustang GT4 with Multimatic Motorsports in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
"Hailie has shown in her brief time behind the wheel of a stock car that she’s got what it takes to be successful," said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. "Our goal is to put her on a path to realize our shared goal of winning championships and part of that is gaining experience on tracks such as road courses and superspeedways. We feel this year will serve as a good foundation for what lies ahead."
Deegan, who registered three ARCA Menards Series West (formerly NASCAR K&N Series West) victories in two full seasons, is coming off a 2019 campaign that saw her win twice and finish third in the final point standings. In 14 starts, she registered three poles, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. In addition, she made six ARCA Menards Series starts with her best finish being fifth at Lucas Oil Raceway.
"I could not be more excited to join Ford Performance and DGR-Crosley," said Deegan. "It became clear quickly that I align with the Ford Performance vision of driver development and our shared drive to win. It is also extra special to get to race with Ford, a family company, that already had ties to my family. Growing up watching my dad race a Ford, and now to be able to do the same thing is very cool.
"It’s also important to me to be teamed up with a hardworking group such as DGR with like minded vision and goals," continued Deegan. "We are all committed to work as hard as it takes to finish on top. I look forward to the upcoming season and learning as much as possible to get me closer to accomplishing my goals of winning races."
This will mark Deegan’s first venture with Ford, but she’s no stranger to the Blue Oval. Her father, Brian, drove a Ford Fiesta in the Global Rallycross Championship and won a gold medal in the Rallycross competition at X Games 17 in 2011. He has also driven a Ford Raptor as part of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series.
"We are very excited to have Hailie join the Ford Performance Team," said Rob Johnston, global marketing manager, Ford Performance. "She is a rising star in motorsports with a new and already large fan base that we are looking forward to engaging with through her talent and personality."
Hailie Deegan is scheduled to make her debut behind the wheel of a Mustang GT4 at the upcoming IMSA Roar Before the 24 test session at Daytona International Speedway on January 3, 2020. That will serve as preparation for her first event, which will be in the Michelin Pilot Challenge opener at Daytona on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, where she will partner with fellow Ford Performance development driver Chase Briscoe.