Hailie Deegan: “You’re accountable for watching your mirrors.”
Today, the SRX Series will conclude their 2021 championship with a finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Last weekend, things got a little rough on the 1/4-mile bullring of Slinger Speedway.
Watch the Paul Tracy vs Hailie Deegan video below.
In the closing laps, Hailie Deegan looked under Paul Tracy for the 4th position. He chopped across her nose, pushed her to the apron. She turned right to save her spinning machine and tagged Tracy.
Tracy went for a spin. That added to the long list of drama for him from that race alone, including knocking Ernie Francis Jr under yellow. In that case, Tracy did little damage to Francis Jr but tore the right front off his own machine, bringing a flat tire.
After Slinger, the two drivers talked it out in the hauler. But, the talking continued on social media throughout the week.
After the altercation, Tracy found himself as a trending topic on Twitter. A platform that the driver isn’t active on.
Paul Tracy comment on Hailie Deegan
“I’ve got a million Hailie Deegan fans DM’ing me. I’ve probably got 10,000 DM’s on Instagram,” Paul Tracy opened in an interview with Joey Mulinaro.
“This is a racing/tv show. That’s what we’re trying to put on, is a show.”
“Look, she’s an aggressive driver. I like aggressive drivers. I can appreciate what she’s trying to do and where she’s trying to go.”
“We were racing each other hard at the end of the night. I had a damaged car from earlier in the night. Ernie and I got into it and I spun around. I got really pissed off and I was going to do the Helio Castroneves and take the side of his car out, like he did to Scott Speed. [Instead], I inflected my own damage which was dumb of me.”
“My plan for the race was to sit at the back of the field and save my tires. The restarts started [toward the end], I went from 11th to 4th.”
“If you look at the last 12 laps of the race. Hailie had contact with Ernie. Greg Biffle, she got into him which caused him to spin into Castroneves. Then, she got to Labonte and she moved him.”
“Then, she got to me. She was faster than me. She went to the inside and I left enough room but only just enough. And, we made contact.”
“In the moment, I was pissed off about it. At the end of the day, this is racing and we go on to the next one.”
Chopping the nose
Deegan stated that Tracy was “chopping her nose” throughout the night. To that, Tracy has an explanation…
“I had a damaged car all night, Tracy explained.
He added, “I had to drive a certain line which is more like a qualifying line. I was making a very late entry and a [big] arc into the corner. I’d apex the corner, all the way around the corner to keep it straight coming off the corner.”
“That was the only way I could get my car to turn. I drove that same line the whole night.”
“You can call it whatever you want. But, at the end of the day, if a guy’s driving a line then you gotta find a way to get around that guy.”
“I’ve got nothing against Hailie Deegan. I think she’s got the talent to make it. But, right after, she told me she was door to door with me and that was clearly not the case. Her front tire was at my back tire.”
He concluded, “In my mind, that’s not your corner if you’re not completely along side.”
Commentary: Tracy is flat wrong
This is exactly why Tracy continues to have issues, every week. He’s coming into bullring oval racing with an Indycar mindset. On a tiny 1/4-mile track, the straight-aways just aren’t long enough to get completely alongside. That’s a complete impossibility.
In oval racing, if a driver gets their nose inside of you at all, you have the option to cut across their nose and spin yourself out or give them the inside and use the banking to defend from the outside. Indycar that’s not the case, mostly due to longer straights, smaller mirrors and a lack of banking.
If Tracy was only racing ovals, eventually he’d figure it out when he never finished a race. It’s just a clash of mindsets from different racing disciplines, which is kinda what SRX is all about.
Hailie Deegan comments on Paul Tracy
“I feel like a lot of people know Paul’s history. It came up on the screen that he’s been in an incident, every race,” Hailie Deegan said.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory. I was just running my race. … I was trying to get by him. And, we don’t have spotters like we do in NASCAR. So, you really have to watch your mirrors. You’re accountable for watching your mirrors.”
“I feel like I’m decent at watching my mirrors because of stock car racing. I was on the inside of him, every time, he’d chop my nose.”
She added, “I was like, ‘He’s not going to give me the inside when I’m at his door like that?’ Every time, I checked up. I wasn’t trying to wreck him.”
“Coming down to the last couple laps, I was like, ‘I gotta go.’ I want a chance to get on the podium. I’m not going to just sit here and go slower because I don’t want to get in a collision.”
Chopping the nose
“I had the inside on him, the corner before. He hits me down. He tries to, at least. I just stuck it in there, I’m not moving this time.”
“That was the corner before. So, I got a run on his inside. My nose was at the name on his door. Going into the corner, I knew he was going to try and chop my nose again. Hopefully, he just bounces off and doesn’t wreck. If he wrecks, that’s not my fault. I’m holding my line on the bottom.”
“I know he’s not a stock car racer. If I went to Indycar, I wouldn’t understand how wrecks happen in Indycar. When you chop someones nose down, it gets the person on the inside loose.”
“As soon as he hits me, you see me straighten the wheel because I’m trying to save it. He took that as, ‘Look, she turned right into me.’ “
After the race
“He had to have seen that coming. Even his mechanics were coming up to me after the racing like, ‘Dude, that wasn’t your fault, he did that to himself.’ “
“I go back to the camper area. Paul and I are in the same camper. I hear my boyfriend start arguing. [Paul] starts complaining to my boyfriend. My boyfriend says, ‘I hold the camera, what do you want me to do?’ “
“I’m trying to get changed real quick so I can walk out there. I tried to be super nice.”
“I said, ‘I’m super sorry, I wasn’t trying to take you out but I’m not going to checkup for you chopping my nose. Wasn’t trying to go into that corner and take you out. You did that to yourself.’ “
“He said, ‘When I go to the inside of someone in the corner, I’ll just turn right and take them out.’ “
“My boyfriend says, ‘The person in the upper groove is going to hold their line. So, you wont even have to do that.’ “
After that, Tracy took to social media. A big mistake.
“He’s on social media trying to be this big hero. He kept posting stuff and people were taking my side. He kept tagging me in Instagram stories.”
“So, I added an Instagram story back, explaining my side. Never bashed him, just explained what happened.”
“He goes on this long rant. I’m pretty sure, he’s still ranting. Someone’s gotta be the bigger person, someone’s gotta be the man in the argument. It;s obviously going to have to be me.”
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
“Going into Nashville, I’m doing my own thing. I’m going out there and racing my race.”
“I don’t hold grudges like that. What happened last race, ends last race. It’s been like that my whole career. Doing that wastes a lot of time and a lot of money. There’s a lot of money involved in racing.”
“Time is very valuable. So, I’m going to go out there and race my race. If he wants to play childish games and bring up stuff that should have been let go, he can do that.”
“I’m the type of person, if you start something, I’m going to finish it. If you don’t want anything to start, don’t start it. But, if you start something, I’m not going to let people walk all over me.”
“I’m not the big brawly person. But, I’m still going to stand up for myself. 250 pound Paul Tracy does not intimidate me. I’m going to race my race and do my job.I’m not here to pick fights with older men.”