Ford Performance and DGR-Crosley Racing announced Tuesday morning that social media sensation Hailie Deegan would be joining the blue oval team in 2020.
The former TRD development driver and winner of 3 K&N West Series races will run a complete ARCA schedule along with select IMSA races in the Michelin Pilot Challenge races.
Deegan became the first woman to win in the K&N Series when she took her maiden victory at Meridian in 2018 thanks to an aggressive last-lap pass. She followed that up with 2 wins in 2019 and a third-place finish in the championship.
Six ARCA starts also accompanied Deegan in 2019. The step-up in competition was met with mixed results. Deegan recorded 1 Top-5 at Lucas Oil Raceway Park but only had an average finish of 9.7 in her six starts. Certainly mixed results for a Venturini car in a series with 20 cars, 8 of which are competitive.
TRD Moves On, Ford Steps In
Toyota Racing Development apparently was content to let Deegan and her popularity walk away. No statement has been made but Deegan said a log jam of talent at Toyota prompted her move to Ford. Which is a very valid reason to move.
TRD doesn’t let their top talent walk away.
Ford has made a commitment in the last year to invest in their driver development program. Cole Custer was already on the path to the Cup Series but the manufacturer stepped up in 2019 to support Chase Briscoe at SHR. Before that, they ran the trio of Ty Majeski, Austin Cindric, and Briscoe in the #60 at Roush Fenway Racing.
In 2020 Ford has further committed to driver development. DGR-Crosley racing switched from Toyota to Ford in 2020 which allows Ford to develop their drivers in ARCA (Main, East, and West) as well as the Truck Series.
Ford is betting on Deegan developing into the future star. Manufacturers don’t hold press conferences for development driver signings, especially ones that are only running an ARCA schedule.
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