NASCAR: Former Most Popular Driver loses ride after being benched

Hailie Deegan was replaced by Joey Logano for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the streets of Chicago. Now she has officially lost her ride with AM Racing.
Hailie Deegan, AM Racing, NASCAR
Hailie Deegan, AM Racing, NASCAR / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Hailie Deegan and AM Racing have officially cut ties just two days after she was replaced by two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano for the Xfinity Series race on the streets of Chicago, Illinois.

Deegan, who spent the 2021, 2022, and 2023 seasons competing full-time in the Truck Series and won the Most Popular Driver Award each season, made the full-time move up to the Xfinity Series in 2024. She made her series debut with SS-Green Light Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a 13th place finish in October 2022.

Though the 22-year-old Temecula, California native struggled in the Truck Series, recording no top five finishes and just five top 10 finishes in 69 starts and never placing higher than 17th place in the point standings, there was a narrative entering the 2024 season that the Xfinity Series cars would better suit her driving style.

Hailie Deegan out at AM Racing

But at no point did that look to be the case, as Deegan recorded only four top 20 finishes in the season's first 17 races and posted an average finish of 26.8.

Her top finish of 12th place came at Talladega Superspeedway in April, and before the Chicago race, she found herself in 27th in the standings, placing her behind one driver who had only competed in five out of 17 races (Aric Almirola). It took until the season's 17th race for her to pass another driver who had only competed in six (Ryan Truex).

Deegan was replaced by Logano in Chicago due to her past struggles on road courses. With so many cars on the entry list and five DNQs, the likelihood of her failing to qualify on speed was high.

Logano went on to qualify in 15th place and finish in eighth, the team's best finish since full-time driver Brett Moffitt finished in seventh at Kansas Speedway last September.

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Deegan, who won three K&N Pro Series West races in 2018 and 2019, now faces an uncertain future. Josh Berry is set to replace her behind the wheel of the No. 15 Ford in this Saturday afternoon's race at Pocono Raceway, but the team's plans beyond the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 have not yet been confirmed.