By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Strategy during the stage break at the end of stage two moved Deegan’s No. 1 Monster Energy Ford F-150 into the top-five. Prior to staying out, she had climbed into the top-20, running the fastest lap of the race by pushing Parker Kligerman.
However, Deegan struggled to lead a lane. Her truck was better as a pusher compared to being pushed in the draft. Once back in line, the speed came back to Deegan’s truck.
Her run inside the top-10 was nearly derailed, however. On Lap 64 when the entire field pitted under green, she slid through her box and clipped her tire carrier. The Goodyear Wrangler tire went flying into the infield, and the David Gilliland Racing crew member gave chase, forcing NASCAR officials to throw the caution.
That was a bad idea. NASCAR pulled this Hailie Deegan crew member's credential and escorted him from the track. pic.twitter.com/tQKwjgOspd
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 1, 2022
As a result, Deegan was penalized to the tail of the field and the crew member was ejected. But the Temecula, Calif., native quickly rallied. In short green flag runs, she navigated through the draft and into the top-15.
After Carson Hocevar’s late caution pushed the race into overtime, she lined up 11th. On the restart she blocked Kligerman, forcing him below the double-yellow line. NASCAR didn’t call the penalty and she continued her march forward.
Coming to the checkered flag, Deegan was swept up in the multi-truck melee that ended the race under caution and spun across the line in eighth. After Truck Series officials reviewed the video at the time of caution, she was awarded sixth place.
“Talladega is checked off the box and we ended up finishing sixth,” Deegan said in a video that she posted to her Facebook page. “I’m pretty happy. We had an eventful day. I made a few mistakes there and there were a few things that I probably could have done better. Overall, we salvaged a sixth-place finish.
“Super happy. All of my guys did great. I can’t thank Monster Energy and Ford enough. DGR gave me a great truck, but that box is checked, super happy we finished sixth, one of our best finishes.”
Though Deegan didn’t score any stage points, she made her presence known, pushing Kligerman and others in the back of the pack. Using a strategy employed by others, the 21-year-old kept the nose of her truck clean, riding in the back until her team determined the time was right to move forward.
The sixth-place finish is Deegan’s second top-10 finish this season and the third of her career. Her previous best finish came at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway last season.
The top-10 finishes at Talladega and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this season makes her the first woman in this history of the Truck Series to score multiple top-10 finishes in a single season.
She remains 21st in points, 18 behind Timmy Hill. The second-year Truck Series driver is 51-points ahead of Lawless Alan.
Next up for the Truck Series is the Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.