Dani Ben-Ari

NASCAR is demanding that Haile Deegen take sensitivity classes after the 19-year-old Ford development driver in the Camping World Truck Series, was heard using the R-word (retarded) during a live broadcast of an iRacing event on twitch, Sunday January 10. The remark found her in violation of Section 12.8.e of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rule Book states that “NASCAR members shall not make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition.”

Deegen later owned up to her faux pas by stating “It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it. There’s no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.”

This, however, is not the first time Deegen has been reprimanded for inappropriate statements. In September 2020, she was criticized when comments surfaced from an audio podcast in which she called the Covid-19 pandemic a “hoax.”

Hailie Deegan began racing at the tender age of 8, soon found success as the only female driver to compete in the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro series, as well as regional series to win championships in 2013, 2015 and 2016. She was also the only youngster to ever be presented with the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro series Driver of the Year award (2016). She also became the first woman to win an ARCA West while a development driver for Toyota in 2018.

Currently in her second year as part of the Ford Development driver program, Hailie is set to compete as a rookie in the Camping World Truck Series this year, when the season premieres at Daytona International Speedway February 12, 2021.