Hailie Deegan will make two starts in Tony Stewart/Ray Evernham SRX series
The Camping World SRX Series, the short-track series started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart that will open its debut season next week, announced that Hailie Deegan will join for two races.
Deegan will replace 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan at Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway on June 19 and Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin on July 10.
Deegan, 19, races full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Evernham asked her to substitute for Kanaan, who has scheduling conflicts.
“Tony Kanaan is going to bring a lot to the Camping World SRX Series, both in terms of talent and personality. We’d love to have him for all six races, but we’re also not going to complain about having him for four,” Evernham said in a release. “It did, however, allow us the opportunity to find another strong personality who has shown that she’s not afraid to race door-to-door for the win. Hailie Deegan has won on the style of tracks where SRX is racing and now she has the opportunity to win against some of the biggest names in motorsports.”
The SRX series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers in each race, already has confirmed Kanaan, Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott, Ernie Francis Jr., Marco Andretti and Michael Waltrip in its lineup (Formula One veteran Mark Webber, previously announced as an entrant, has bowed out of the series).
SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled last July.
Deegan is the first woman to win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and has three victories on that circuit.
“It’s an honor to be a part of SRX and I’m grateful for the chance,” Deegan said in a release. “I love racing. I started when I was eight in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series and, for the last five years, I’ve been on pavement working my way up the racing ladder. The challenge of SRX really appeals to me. Competing on different tracks – asphalt and dirt – with other drivers from all sorts of disciplines is a unique opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.”
Kanaan, who is sharing the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson in the NTT IndyCar Series this season, will be racing in SRX starting with the June 12 season opener at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, as well as June 26 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, July 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, and then July 17 in the season finale at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
“I feel like other people driving my car is the story of my season,” Kanaan said in a release. “Obviously, I want to race the full SRX schedule, but I have two commitments I cannot break. I really appreciate everyone’s flexibility, because when I first heard about SRX, I was the first one to raise my hand and loudly say I wanted to be a part of it. I’m happy that Hailie Deegan gets to enjoy this experience too because it really is a great opportunity for all of us.”