DGR-Crosley announced on Tuesday that Ford Performance development driver Hailie Deegan will join the team for the 2020 season. Deegan will run the full 20 race ARCA Menards Series schedule in the seat of the No. 4 Ford Fusion.
Deegan has two full-time seasons under her belt in the ARCA Menards Series West while also competing part-time in the ARCA Menards Series East. With three wins, 13 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes, Deegan has proven herself to be a rising star in the NASCAR ranks. In 2018 she became the first female driver in series history to win a race after a last-lap pass on her teammate at Meridian Speedway. While the young Ford Performance development driver will be running for Rookie of the Year honors in 2020, she does have six prior starts in the ARCA Menards Series.
“I could not be more excited to join Ford Performance and DGR-Crosley next season,” said Deegan. “Growing up watching my dad race a Ford, and now to be able to do the same thing is very cool. It’s important to me to be teamed up with a hardworking group such as DGR-Crosley with like-minded visions and goals. We are all committed to working as hard as it takes to finish on top. I look forward to the upcoming season and learning as much as possible to get me closer to accomplishing my goals of winning races.”
“Today is a huge day for our organization,” says team co-owner David Gilliland. “It’s been really impressive to see what Hailie has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. With her joining our Ford Performance driver development program at DGR-Crosley, the potential for success is endless. I’m super excited to get the 2020 season started.”
Deegan’s first race behind the wheel of a DGR-Crosley prepared Ford Fusion will occur on Saturday, February 8, when the ARCA Menards Series kicks-off their season at Daytona (fl.) International Speedway.
The biggest question though is, why would Toyota let her go and why would she want to leave? It’s clear, she’s going to be the next star. Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing put three cars in the Championship 4 in the Cup Series this past season including a record setting 19 trips to victory lane.
Well, the reason why Toyota let her go likely comes down to money. Ford probably made an offer Deegan couldn’t refuse and Toyota couldn’t match. Plus, as Deegan said on Tuesday, Ford has more seats available through her rise up the ranks.
The Toyota room is crowded. They have a ton of young drivers also trying to make their ways up the ranks but not many places to go. Really, Kyle Busch Motorsports is the main team to go to in Trucks. In XFINITY and Cup, Joe Gibbs Racing is the only team to race for in the Toyota camp if you want to remain competitive.
For Ford, they have Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing and their alliances to drive for. There’s more room to grow which is why this decision makes sense.