NASCAR: Hailie Deegan’s punishment too harsh?

Hailie Deegan, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Hailie Deegan, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

NASCAR has required that Hailie Deegan complete sensitivity training before competing in the upcoming Truck Series season. Fortunately for her, no other penalties have been issued.

On Sunday evening, David Gilliland Racing NASCAR Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan was competing in an online iRacing event and streaming it live on Twitch, something she had never previously done through her personal account.

The 19-year-old Temecula, California native offended several fans during this event after using a word she later described as “insensitive” and “inappropriate slang”. While some felt that the criticism directed at her was an overreaction, others called for her to be “cancelled”.

She later apologized on Twitter.

Now NASCAR has mandated that she complete sensitivity training before competing in the upcoming Truck Series season.

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Deegan, who finished in third place in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings last season, made her Truck Series debut with David Gilliland Racing (then DGR-Crosley) back in October at Kansas Speedway and finished in 16th place after starting in 34th.

The three-time K&N Pro Series West race winner is set to compete full-time as a rookie in the Truck series this season. Her penalty effectively amounts to an indefinite suspension, but because of the fact that the season hasn’t begun yet and isn’t scheduled to do so for another month, she won’t miss any races, provided she completes the training in a timely fashion.

Her punishment is similar in nature to the initial penalty handed to Kyle Larson last April when he used a racial slur during an iRacing event, also when NASCAR was not running any live races. He eventually ended up losing his ride with Chip Ganassi Racing, but only after several sponsors cut ties with him. He is set to return to the sport in 2021 with Hendrick Motorsports after being reinstated but effectively remains on probation.

Fortunately for Deegan, she has not been penalized beyond being required to complete sensitivity training — and, of course, social media criticism.

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The NextEra Energy 250 is scheduled to get the 2021 season underway on Friday, February 12 at Daytona International Speedway. Fox Sports 1 is set to broadcast the race live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.