Hailie Deegan outran a group of big-name drivers Saturday night as she returned to her dirt-racing roots.
She came home second to Tony Stewart at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, in the second race of the new Camping World SRX Series. Deegan muscled past Trans-Am Series champion Ernie Francis Jr. on the final lap for the spot.
Deegan, now a full-time driver in the NASCAR Truck Series, raced Stewart for the lead for much of the 100-lap main event. Behind her in the 12-driver field were NASCAR champions Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte, Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip.
“Came up with a clean car, finished second to Tony, can’t complain, it was a good night,” Deegan said in a postrace Instagram post.
The SRX race capped a busy weekend for Deegan. She raced in the Truck Series on Friday night at Nashville Superspeedway, finishing 21st. The David Gilliland Racing driver is 17th in the point standings through 12 races as a rookie. She has yet to record a top-five or top-10 finish.
She might break through when she returns to Knoxville on July 9 for the Truck Series’ annual dirt race.
Knoxville was the second of six races in the SRX (Superstar Racing Experience) Series’ inaugural season. Stewart and Ray Evernham are the series’ co-founders.