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  1. k98dave

    k98dave TMO Addict

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    No. 22 Ford Mustang GT4
    By HOLLY CAIN
    IMSA Wire Service
    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – News and notes from around Daytona International Speedway on the Saturday of the Roar Before the Rolex 24.

    Hailie Deegan Ready To Gain Road Course Experience at Roar and Rolex 24
    No, Hailie Deegan conceded with a wide grin, she never expected that her competitive debut on the famous Daytona International Speedway high banks would come in a sports car.

    But judging by the smiles and ease she showed Saturday afternoon speaking with reporters at Daytona between Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona practice sessions, she’s eager and mentally prepared for her IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race debut at the grand track on Jan. 24. The in-car skills and sports car initiation is coming together too, she said.

    “I never thought I’d race a road course especially at Daytona, that was new for me,’’ Deegan said. “I always thought my first time at Daytona would be in an ARCA car but I’m happy to be here on the road course.’’

    Deegan‘s ARCA Menards Series season debut at Daytona will follow the Rolex 24 race weekend and comes only weeks after the 18-year old Californian was formally introduced as a Ford Performance development driver. She will co-drive a Ford Mustang GT4 with NASCAR Xfinity Series frontrunner Chase Briscoe in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona later this month. Austin Cindric, another young Ford talent in the Xfinity Series, will be driving a Multimatic Motorsports Inc. team car as well, teaming with Sebastian Priaulx in the No. 15 Mustang.

    In February, Deegan will compete in the season-opening ARCA Menards Series race that essentially opens Daytona Speedweeks – the green flag to a much-anticipated full season of stock car racing. All three of these young NASCAR stars say they are grateful for the chance to begin their season early, confident that the extra laps will only help their skillset.

    “I’m really excited just to gain experience in these new cars,’’ Deegan said. “Just everything’s new. A fresh start. It’s waiting to get planned out, meeting new people, new faces, new relationships. I’m excited to grow the relationships in the Ford family and everyone that’s a part of it.

    “One thing I haven’t really touched on in my career is road courses, pavement road course type stuff. Coming here and filling that base of what I’m missing as a driver as a hole is definitely going to help me be all around as a driver.

    “I feel what makes a good driver is a driver that’s not just good at ovals or road courses they are good at everything and have that skill set. I think if I can just keep getting better skill sets to bring to my career, it will help even more.’’

    Deegan and Briscoe certainly gave proof of their talent and ability to learn the new car and course. They were 14th fastest overall in the opening practice, ninth quickest in the second session and finally fifth best in the latest round.

    Cindric and Priaulx were fourth fastest in the second session – tops among the two Multimatic team cars.
     
  2. Bill Pemberton

    Bill Pemberton 0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror

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    Read this earlier today , but did not post, so thanks Dave. Nice to see this talented young lady in a Mustang and kudos to Ford for going after this talented driver.
     
  3. Coz

    Coz TMO Addict

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    Who's going to the Rolex 24? I'll be there.
     
  4. k98dave

    k98dave TMO Addict

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    I was looking to see who was running FGT now that they were all supposed to be private entries when I came across this. I expect the C8 vettes to get all the press and I don't doubt some lobbying is in play. Would be great to see a private entry FGT win GTLM class.
     
  5. Bunkie726

    Bunkie726 TMO Intermediate

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    Goin- can’t wait! If I could choose what heaven sounds like it would be the sound at the infield during the race. Unbelievable chorus......
     
  6. JDee

    JDee Ancient Racer

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    I will miss the sound of the 'vettes, the FPC motor just doesn't make it for me. Fortunately the Caddy DPi cars will still have that great engine sound.
     
  7. Grant 302

    Grant 302 OPM Spent: $665,833 Moderator

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    Blasphemy!

    :D ;)
     
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  8. JDee

    JDee Ancient Racer

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    Wow! Tough crowd!:);):p
     
  9. Bunkie726

    Bunkie726 TMO Intermediate

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    The Corvettes were the loudest 2 there. Even louder than the DPI’s. Standing in the infield where they come out of the first sweeper you’d almost need to turn your head away to keep from going deaf. Damn good sound though! Nothing like a big ol’ V8
     
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  10. steeda5

    steeda5 TMO Advanced

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    Hailie Deegan has some amazing talent for a 18 yo. Watched a few of the K&N West races she was in on youTube. She can get it done! Hope there weekend goes well. Sounds like there off to a great start. Thanks for the Daytona report @k98dave.Keep them coming.
     
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  11. k98dave

    k98dave TMO Addict

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  12. JDee

    JDee Ancient Racer

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    There were some stories a while back that Ford and/or Ganassi were shopping the cars to privateers but there were no takers for the package. Given that GTLM is mainly an OEM funded class you'd have to have really really deep pockets to take that on. And even at that you'd be turning a large fortune into a small one in no time.
     

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