Roseville BMR’s Deegan becomes first female driver to win in NASCAR series history
Roseville based Bill McAnally Racing team driver Hailie Deegan made history on Saturday night by winning the NAPA AUTO PARTS Idaho 208 at Idaho’s Meridian Speedway and becoming the first female driver to win in the history of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Temecula, California was making just her 12th start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West - driving Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 19 Mobil 1 / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry.
Deegan edged out BMR teammate Cole Rouse with a last-lap pass to win by .329 seconds and lead a 1-2-3 finish for BMR. Derek Kraus, who led 190 laps in dominating the event ended up third.
“I was behind Cole and I knew we were faster,” Deegan said of the closing laps. “Cole was over driving a little bit and I knew I was faster if I hit my marks. The last few laps I hit my marks. I knew I had to give Cole a little push up in (Turn) 1 to get past him. I gave him a little nudge and got him a little loose and I got under him and we won.”
Deegan talked about being the first female driver to win in the series.
“It hasn’t even sunk in yet,” she said. “It’s going to be a crazy next couple of days.
“I’m so happy that Toyota and Bill took a chance on me this year,” she said. “They took a chance on me – Jack Irving and Toyota, NAPA, and Bill. They’re the ones who took the chance on me and it paid off.”
Deegan had become the first female to win a pole in the series, setting the fast mark in qualifying at the most recent event on the circuit – at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track earlier this month. Her previous best career finish was second, which she registered on two occasions this year – at Las Vegas and at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon in June.
Kraus, also a 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver, dominated the Meridian race – leading from the pole in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and pacing the field for 190 circuits of the 208-lap event. He lost the lead when he took evasive action to avoid a lapped car that spun. Rouse moved by Kraus to put his No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry into the lead, with Deegan close behind.
Rouse led the field to the restart and Deegan mounted her challenge as the laps would down, making the pass for the lead coming to the finish.
With her win, Deegan regained the lead in rookie points for the series and moved to fifth in the overall championship standings. In 12 starts, she has one win, five top-five, and 10 top-10 series finishes.
Deegan has won multiple championships in off-road racing, where she began her racing career at the age of 8. Her racing resume also includes competition in late models and super late models.
The runner-up finish by Rouse moved him into a tie for second in the championship standings – 32 points out of the lead. The 21-year-old from Fort Smith, Arkansas has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes this season.
Kraus, who on Saturday night captured his fifth pole this season and sixth of his career, is fourth in the standings – seven points behind Rouse. Kraus of Stratford, Wisconsin leads the series with three wins and has seven top fives and nine top 10s.
In advance of the race, the BMR drivers made a special appearance for the Dyson Group at a store front sales event at the NAPA AUTO PARTS Store in Meridian on Friday. A large group of NAPA guests, including store owners and shop owners from NAPA Spokane, turned out on Saturday and were treated to a VIP Hospitality at the history-making event.
The Meridian race is slated to be televised on NBCSN on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. PT.
The next event on the K&N Pro Series West schedule will be the NAPA AutoCare / Roseville Toyota 200 presented by TriCo Welding Supplies & the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame right here at the All American Speedway in Roseville, California on Oct. 13. Tickets for the event are now on sale at: https://www.bmrnaparacing.com/bmr-racing/storetickets or on all Gold Country Media websites.