You could say racing runs in the Deegan family. Hailie Deegan, the 15-year-old daughter of FMX legend Brian Deegan, followed in her father’s footsteps by venturing into the racing world. She may not have her license yet, but that hasn’t stopped her from tearing up the track. Hailie has already achieved so much since getting behind the wheel at just eight years old and with that success comes bigger dreams.
EnerSys®, the manufacturer of ODYSSEY® batteries, expanded their partnership with the Deegan family this year by announcing an official sponsorship of Hailie in June. EnerSys® has been proud to sponsor her father, Brian, since 2012. We recently caught up with Hailie at the track. Hear what she has to say about growing up surrounded by extreme sports and her recent accomplishments in the racing world.
How did you get started racing and how much of an influence did your dad have?
My dad influenced me to do all of it. He bought me my first car when I was eight years old – it was my first Junior 1 car. I started racing then and it was more of a fun thing to do. Once I turned 12, I started to take it more seriously. That’s when we started winning.
What was it like growing up surrounded by extreme sports?
Racing is pretty much all that my family knows. At the dinner table we sit down and talk about what race we’re in next and how we’re going to win. Racing surrounds our family – it’s all we talk about.
You currently race in the Lucas Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) and drive the Legend Car for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. Which do you prefer most? Why?
My favorite, and the most fun, is Mod Kart [LOORRS]. It’s more aggressive than the others. You come out swinging and have to finish swinging because there aren’t that many laps. I also like Legend Car – it’s where I have more of a future. I’m going to be getting into late model this fall and winter, and once I get into it I’ll be racing on bigger tracks. That’s going to have more of a NASCAR feel for me.
As the first female to reach the podium in the LOORRS Modified Kart category, what was the experience like?
It’s a major accomplishment for me – to show everyone that a girl can do it. No girl has ever stood on the podium in any of the classes before me. Being the first one to do that and actually be able to consistently win races is an amazing feeling.
What are some challenges you have encountered since you began racing?
The biggest challenge has been coming out at such a high level of competition. You have to come out swinging and show what you’ve got; that you’re not just another girl driver out there trying to win. You have to show that you can win. From there, you get the respect. I go into every race with the mindset of doing my best and always hitting my marks.
How has your partnership with ODYSSEY® battery helped your career?
They’ve always been reliable and supportive of anything I’ve done.
What advice do you have for people your age, especially girls, who want get into racing?
You have to consider yourself another driver having to earn the respect of others by showing what you’ve got and doing your best. That’s the advice my dad’s always given me – Go out, do your best and feel accomplished.
How did you get the nickname ‘Dirt Princess’?
I got it when I was eight years old. My mom started calling me Dirt Princess and it stuck.
How do you manage school, your racing schedule and hanging out with friends?
Most of my friends are at the race track – it’s basically where we all hang out. I’m homeschooled at the moment, too. Since I’m constantly traveling with my family I’m always with them. Those three together make it easy.
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