Hailie Deegan, a rising star in motorsports, recently shared her experiences of transitioning from California’s racing scene to North Carolina’s, as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Speaking with Kenny Wallace on his podcast, Deegan elaborated on the stark contrasts she noticed between the East and West Coast racing cultures, making it clear that not everyone who appears friendly is behaves the same behind the scenes.
“People don’t realize how different the East Coast and West Coast racing worlds are. They are two different worlds totally separate worlds,” said Deegan when asked by Wallace about the major differences between drivers on each coast.
Wallace took the opportunity to ask her to dive deeper into her response.
“It’s different it’s the people, it’s how people get along is very different,” she replied. “Like I was so used to like everyone’s buddies. Like we all yeah, we all might take each other out. But like we’re all kind of cool after the race and like we’ll probably all go hang out and like, it’s like your kind of group of people.
You can watch the full interview below:
“But it’s, I really like that in stock car racing. And everyone knows everybody and everybody’s friendly. And I feel like a NASCAR racing everyone’s so like uptight. It’s like, constantly having to watch your back so someone doesn’t stab it.”
Later on in the podcast, Deegan also shared her initial unfamiliarity with the K&N series and the distinction between a Late Model and a Super Late Model.
At 15, her experience was rooted in the West Coast off-road racing scene. However, after participating in a late model test on the East Coast, she caught the attention of a Toyota affiliate. This connection led to her testing Todd Gilliland’s K&N car, which he drove for BMR.
Deegan, who began her racing journey on off-road terrains and dirt tracks, made the switch to asphalt in 2016 with an ambition to excel in stock car racing. Venturing into NASCAR in 2018, she competed in the K&N Pro Series West.
During the K&N Pro Series West, she marked her prowess by becoming the first female driver to clinch victories in the West Series during both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Notably, she carries the racing legacy of her father, Brian Deegan.
What are your thoughts on Deegan’s view of the culture and attitudes regarding drivers? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.