The Daytona 500 will take place at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Sunday, February 14, 2021 (2/14/21).
Fans can watch the event for free through a trial version of fuboTV
Here’s What You Need to Know:
What: Daytona 500
WHO: NASCAR Cup Series
When: Sunday February 14, 2021
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
True: Daytona International Speedway
Live stream fuboTV (free trial)
Hailie Deegan’s Instagram posts for her 939,000 followers are upbeat – downright vibrant – as they showcase her life on the track, her race-crazy family taking part in countless adventures, and her sales pitch to buy the latest HD merchandise.
They even packs the shipments himself
Her January 10 message seemed harmless: Deegan behind the wheel of a racing simulator for a virtual race with the caption “TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT !!”
The 19-year-old NASCAR prospect was having fun at the race when she was hit from behind by another driver.
“Oh Hey! Who’s the (R word) behind me? Please don’t do that,” she said, using a derogatory term for disabled people during the race streamed on Twitch
The resistance was swift. Deegan apologized the same evening “To anyone offended by it” and regretted her “inappropriate jargon”.
For NASCAR, the embarrassment grew after a new slur that one of its drivers expressed in a virtual race. Kyle Larson filed a six-month suspension last season and was fired by team owner Chip Ganassi when he used the N word to address his spotter during a live stream.
Deegan’s insult struck close to her professional home. Mike Hillman Jr., the crew chief of Deegan’s Truck Series team, and his wife have three children. The youngest is 12-year-old Mylee, who was developmentally delayed and did not speak until she was 3 years old or walked until she was 4.
“It hit me to the core,” Hillman said of Deegan’s comment. “That’s one of the worst curse words you can use in my house.”
Deegan apologized again in an interview with The Associated Press this week, saying that this was not her moment of most pride.
“It’s something I had absolutely no understanding of how hurtful it could be,” said Deegan. “I’ve never been associated with that. I think because of this bad situation it opened my eyes to something new that I didn’t know. But now I am gaining a lot of knowledge about it. “
Deegan – who completed NASCAR-mandated sensitivity training this week – contacted a Special Olympics program in North Carolina and can volunteer down the road. Deegan and Hillman had a serious talk about the point of discussion, and the veteran crew chief felt that she “better understands how to use her words and be careful what she says.”
His daughter is oblivious to what Deegan said, even though the rest of the Hillman family (including two teenagers) has been trying to get past the problem.
‘We took a deep breath, we got it over with. Me and Hailie took it on a personal and professional level, ”he said. “It’s just time to go to Daytona.”
She is indeed on her way to Daytona, where she finished third in the entry-level ARCA standings last season. She did a Trucks race in Kansas in 2020 and drove a full-time Ford ride for DGR-Crosley Racing this season.
She and everyone else will try to dethrone Sheldon Creed back to defend his Truck Series Championship when the 22 race season opens Friday night in Daytona.
The photogenic Deegan has already served as a guest host for NASCAR.com at the Daytona 500 Media Day 2019 and was billed at the track as “NASCAR’s Next Big Superstar” for last season’s 500 during a personal appearance. She chatted with the first lady while then President Donald Trump held on to the NASCAR driver’s helmet and signed it at last year’s race.
Deegan was signature clear-coated for protection and wore the helmet during her only season driving the lower stock car series. No. 4 on the door, No. 45 on the dome.
She still wears it on the go-kart track every now and then.
“I had other helmets made, but I think I wore that helmet for so long that it broke,” Deegan said, laughing. “I hope one day I’ll wear it to a race where I feel like I can win and I’m just wearing that helmet. That would be cool. “
Deegan was thrilled to take a picture with Trump, saying, “It’s not very often anyone in his life meets the president.” The meeting was arranged via Twitter.
She had her keepsake – and her first foray into a major social media backlash.
“I know I’m going to get hate on social media,” said Deegan. “I don’t think there is one person with a large social media following who doesn’t get hate. It comes with having those followers and having those fans and people who don’t like your stuff. “
Born in California, Deegan learned about growing up in the spotlight as the daughter of famed motocross racer Brian Deegan. Brian Deegan, a 10-time X-Games medalist and founder of the Metal Mulisha, often describes the family’s reality show style on the YouTube channel Deegan38. A video is entitled “PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED MY HELMET !!!”
“Without all the attention, without the spotlight or the eyes on me, I wouldn’t be able to race,” said Deegan. “Social media can’t just get me the attention of fans, sponsors, to get sponsorship to go racing.”
Deegan says she learned from her mistake and vowed to grow as a driver and person; she recently moved into her own apartment. Outside of the sensitivity session, she avoided the harsh professional repercussions imposed on Larson.
“I’m not going to go into the details of Hailie, but we have confidence in the training we’ve provided for the industry that speaks about it,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President.
Ford wants Deegan to succeed and she is surrounded by veterans to ease her transition to NASCAR. She relied on retired 13-year-old Cup driver David Ragan to coach her simulator sessions and David Gilliland, who made the 333 Cup start, has had an ownership role for several years now. TJ Majors, a former Dale Earnhardt Jr. spotter, is on board as Deegan’s eyes on the runway. Hillman was on the box for Todd Bodine’s two Trucks titles.
“I’m trying to get myself a good grade before we go into next year, which will be next year,” said Deegan. “I have goals in mind. Whether or not it goes as planned, it is a bit unknown. “
She has blotted out comparisons to Danica Patrick, the last female driver in the Cup Series, whose women’s pipeline has largely dried up. On Instagram or on the track, all eyes are on Deegan.
“This is going to be the kind of test year in which Hailie Deegan piles up,” Hillman said. “Hopefully we can shock a lot of people.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)