BMR’s Deegan makes NASCAR history
LAS VEGAS– Hailie Deegan, team driver for Roseville’s Bill McAnally Racing has been making headlines recently in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Deegan’s most recent feat was becoming the first female driver to earn a pole position award in the 64-year history of the series in Las Vegas last week.
In less than four weeks, Deegan will have the opportunity to race right here in the homeland of her BMR team as NASCAR roars into the All American Speedway Oct. 13 for its annual grand appearance that benefits the fight against breast cancer in Placer County.
In the recent Star Nursery 100 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track last Thursday, Deegan, 17, topped her event when she also won her heat race and finished second in the feature event in her BMR No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry. The event marked the first time the series raced on a dirt track in nearly 40 years.
“It was a struggle from the start,” said the series rookie. “My shifter kept popping out of gear, but we made it work. We fought back and got back up there in the end. We had the car to win but lost too much there in the middle. I wish we could have stayed up there a little more.”
Deegan was one of four BMR drivers who ran up front in the event. She led the early laps before Derek Kraus got by in the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry on Lap 20. He paced the field until spinning on Lap 44, leaving Cole Rouse to take over the top spot in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry and led through Lap 61.
Christopher Bell drove BMR’s No. 60 NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Camry in Thursday’s race. After making a pit stop to repair damage from an early incident, he battled his way to the front on Lap 69 and appeared headed to victory. He was penalized by NASCAR for jumping the restart on Lap 95, however, and put to the back.
Deegan got shuffled back in the running order midway through the event and worked her way back to the front in the late stages to come home in the runner-up spot, matching her previous best career finish.
Brendan Gaughan, who won back-to-back series championships with the Bill McAnally-led team in 2000 and 2001, had a solid night in finishing fifth in the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry. His return to the series included a reunion of the crew members from his championship team.
Rouse finished behind Gaughan in sixth while Bell came back to take 10th. Kraus was sidelined in a late-race incident and finished 17th.
Rouse moved up a spot to third in the championship standings, 35 points out of first. The 21-year-old driver from Fort Smith, Arkansas, has five Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes in 11 starts this season.
Kraus, a 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin, is fourth in points, seven markers behind Rouse. He has three wins, four poles, six Top-5s, and eight Top-10s this season. Deegan is second in rookie points and sixth in the overall standings. She has four Top-5 and nine Top-10 finishes. The Las Vegas race was won by Sheldon Creed.
In less than four weeks, Deegan and her BMR teammates will converge onto Roseville’s banked oval for what is known as the largest single day event to take place locally, according to Placer Valley Tourism. The NAPA Auto Care Center Roseville Toyota 200 will bring the top names in the sport to Roseville. Tickets go on sale for the event starting Sept. 24. Visit www.bmrnaparacing.com for details.