Hailie Deegan’s North Wilkesboro Adventures: Mobbed Before the Race and Ripped After It (2024)


Hailie Deegan’s North Wilkesboro Adventures: Mobbed Before the Race and Ripped After It (1)


John Moriello

John Moriello started covering sports in 1982, began digital publishing in 1995, and joined Sportscasting in 2020. A graduate of St. John Fisher University, he finds inspiration in the underdogs and the fascinating stories sports can tell (both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat). John expertly covers all aspects of NASCAR.Beginning with his 2014 coverage at Fox Sports of the aftermath of the dirt-race tragedy in which Kevin Ward Jr. died after being struck by a car driven by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart, John has excelled as a journalist who specializes in the motorsports world. He previously spent more than three decades covering high school sports and worked as a beat writer covering Big East football and basketball, but NASCAR is now where the true expertise falls.John is a member of the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame (2013), the President of the New York State Sportswriters Association, and a two-time Best of Gannett winner for print and online collaborations whose work has appeared on FoxSports.com and MaxPreps.com.

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Updated21 May 2023


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Hailie Deegan’s North Wilkesboro Adventures: Mobbed Before the Race and Ripped After It (3)

We’re pretty much at the point where evaluating Hailie Deegan’s work in NASCAR is reminiscent of NBA All-Star Games: There’s simply no defense.

The longtime narrative – and it was valid for a while – was that Deegan had the misfortune of getting caught up in a lot of other drivers’ messes in the Craftsman Truck Series. And then she went and ruined Dean Thompson’s day in the official NASCAR return to North Wilkesboro Speedway, and it left more observers than ever to question why Deegan gets the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s the thing, however: Deegan’s day on the track wasn’t as eventful as her arrival at North Wilkesboro was, and that’s a bad thing.

Dean Thompson bit his tongue but doesn’t like Hailie Deegan

Contact between Hailie Deegan and Dean Thompson results in a caution at North Wilkesboro Speedway. https://t.co/U9kPrHgVZa pic.twitter.com/KcDTZ6Qvij


Dean Thompson isn’t having much of a season in the Craftsman Truck Series for TriCon Garage, David Gilliland’s rebranded team that switched to Toyota in the offseason. However, the 21-year-old Anaheim, California, native’s numbers aren’t remarkably different than what Hailie Deegan did last year while driving a Ford to 21st place.

Their paths crossed – literally – with 67 laps to go in the truck race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, and Thompson was not happy. Deegan, clear of traffic around her, couldn’t hold her line and wrecked Thompson by spinning him into the outside wall.

Thompson was running 24th at the time, but he had spent much of the race inside the top 20. The crash damage ended his day. His comments after the race were terse, at best.

“My parents taught me that if I didn’t have anything good to say to not say anything at all,” he said. “On to Charlotte.”

Timmy Hill spun twice in the first 65 laps, and the second instance seemed to be with help from Deegan.

“I don’t care how many laps we’ve got left, you gotta pay her ass back,” Hill’s crew told him on his radio.

Hailie Deegan reportedly had an incident while arriving at the track

1/3 @NASCAR @MarcusSMI why are these autograph hounds allowed to have VIP passes, and bring suitcases full of cars to the track. I have seen this at multiple tracks.
They are ruining the experience for everyone else. By hounding the Drivers.#NASCAR #NASCAR75 pic.twitter.com/2JMglw8t9i

— 🙊 ηιcσℓε cнιρмαη 🙈 (@Stellarnarious) May 20, 2023

Truck series driver Hailie Deegan experienced an uncomfortable episode on her way into North Wilkesboro Speedway on Saturday, according to a fan’s account on Twitter.

According to the post, sheriffs had to assist Deegan in getting through a throng of fans that quickly surrounded her. The report said many of the fans were men trying to get Deegan to autograph diecasts, and the gaggle effectively froze young fans out of being able to get autographs of their own or even greet the popular driver.

The phenomenon isn’t new to the track or to drivers. Memorabilia collectors usually know where drivers enter the track at the start of the day, and some lug totes and suitcases around with diecasts. Understandably, autographs increase the value of collectibles.

The irony is that many drivers and teams sell a variety of autographed items at the track. Signing multiple pieces that will likely end up on eBay in a matter of days isn’t their priority, nor should it be.

She has work to do to make the playoffs

Hailie Deegan’s North Wilkesboro Adventures: Mobbed Before the Race and Ripped After It (4)

A 20th-place finish at North Wilkesboro left Halie Deegan in 16th place in the truck series standings, 50 points out of 10th place. It’s a big jump from 26th place, where she was at this juncture a year ago.

Meanwhile, Dean Thompson’s 35th-place finish dropped him to 24th in the standings with just six races left before the playoffs’ round of 10 begins.

Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [emailprotected].

Hailie Deegan’s North Wilkesboro Adventures: Mobbed Before the Race and Ripped After It (2024)


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