DACONO, Colo. — Hailie Deegan wasn’t leaving Colorado without a trophy.
And she showed she meant it on Saturday night at Colorado National Speedway, bumping her Bill McAnally Racing teammate Derek Kraus out of the way in overtime to grab her second K&N Pro Series West victory of the season and third of her career.
“That was probably the scrappiest race I’ve ever ran,” she said. “In the end, we went out there, ran our hardest race. Everything I’ve been practicing, all the hard racing I’ve been running. Derek (Kraus) ran me hard right there (turn two), so I was going to run him hard back (turn four). And that’s racing. We were all going for the kill. I got the win and that’s all that matters.”
It was an accomplishment in and of itself that Kraus was even in contention for the win, as a broken sway-bar saw No. 16 fade at around lap 50 from the lead to hanging on for dear life inside the top five.
But when given the opportunity, Kraus pounced.
The two-time K&N West winner in 2019 dove into turn one on the restart and made contact with Deegan’s left-side, clearing her for the top spot, only to be left in a cloud of smoke one lap later.
Under the caution that set up the green/white/checkered finish, the No. 19 team debated whether to select the top or bottom lane for the final restart. After taking the top all evening long, they opted for the bottom to thwart any dive bomb attempt from Jagger Jones.
As it turned out, Kraus wound up being the one who dove inside the two and made it three-wide for the lead, and Jones wasn’t too pleased.
Team owner Bill McAnally experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a 30-second span, and attempted to encapsulate his feelings as he celebrated in victory lane.
“To have our cars up there slicing and dicing for the win is pretty special,” he said. “You knew the No. 6 (Jones) and No. 19 (Deegan) were going to get together, so I was worried about that already. And then when the No. 16 (Kraus) goes and gets three-wide, my heart hit the ground for a minute for sure. It’s bittersweet. Hailie wins the race, Derek gets spun around, they all drove hard. That’s what they’re here to do: win and develop. They’re doing a pretty good job of that.”
Starting from the pole for the first time in his K&N Pro Series career, Colorado native Kody Vanderwal escaped the last-lap carnage to finish second, his best result of the season. Todd Souza earned his second top five of the season and first top three finish since May of 2017, coming home third.
Brittney Zamora, who rebounded from spinning late, finished fourth with Matt Levin rounding out the top five. John Wood, Jones (spun while running third in overtime), Kraus, Trevor Huddleston and Takuma Koga completed the top 10.