Fun Summer Nights: Dana, 'Dirt Princess' Enjoy Bojangles' Summer Shootout Journey
Jessica Dana and Hailie Deegan traveled more than 2,400 miles to attend summer school, but the education the two West Coast girls will receive isn't the kind that comes from a book. Dana, an Olympia, Washington, native, and Deegan - a Temecula, California, native and the daughter of X Games freestyle motocross legend Brian Deegan - traveled east to get an on-track education in Legend Car competition during the Bojangles' Summer Shootout on Charlotte Motor Speedway's frontstretch quarter-mile.
While similar in that they're seeking Legend Car glory this summer, Dana and Deegan took vastly different paths to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dana, 21, began her career racing go-karts as a 15-year-old in Washington, but she graduated up to super late models only a year after she competed in her first race. Karting is where Dana made her case for stardom, though. She beat four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon in a kart race in 2010. The Bojangles' Summer Shootout, Dana said, is the best destination for a West Coast girl eager to showcase her skills on the fastest side of the country.
"It seems like a really good series to be in," said Dana, a rookie who finished 17th in her AAA Carolinas Legend Car Semi-Pro division debut on Tuesday. "It's a competitive series. I've never raced Legend Cars before, so I'm getting my feet wet and trying to race some people on the East Coast."
Deegan, 14, is in entirely unfamiliar territory. Nicknamed "Dirt Princess," her specialty lies outside of pavement: she competes in the Modified Kart division of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series when she's home in California. She captured her first Lucas Oil Off Road victory in 2014 and posted two victories in the first six races of this season before heading east.
Her desire to move east for the summer coincided with having gained support from Rev Racing - a NASCAR team that promotes diversity in racing. But Deegan isn't interested in merely competing with the boys in the Legend Car Young Lions division. She's in it to prove herself on the asphalt-racing stage. Deegan was competitive in her first race, but she encountered early misfortune that cost her valuable track position and left her in 12th at the finish.
"This is something new for me that I'm trying, coming from a dirt background," Deegan said. "I'm trying to get some good experience from it. I've grown up with racing. I've been doing it since I was a little kid, but I've never raced Legend Cars, especially on the East Coast. I'm hoping I can get some experience and can move up from here into a super late model and see where it takes me from there."
The second and third rounds of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout roar to life on Monday and Tuesday, June 20-21, at 7 p.m. with a full slate of Legend Car and Bandolero action supplanted by an area principal school bus race on the frontstretch quarter-mile. Employees of participating schools get in free with with school ID, and students at the schools who are older than 13 are admitted free with a report card or school ID.
Fans can find a free live stream of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout at CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com, USLegendCars.com and GoPRN.com as well as on the US Legend Cars YouTube channel starting at 7 p.m. each night. Additionally, fans can document their experiences using the hashtag #LetsBoRacing on social media.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:10 p.m. Opening ceremonies are scheduled at 7 p.m., and feature races are scheduled to conclude by approximately 10 p.m.
Tickets, which cost only $8 for adults and FREE for kids 13 and under, can be purchased at the gate or in advance by calling 800-455-FANS or online at charlottemotorspeedway.com. Fans can also watch half-hour weekly Bojangles' Summer Shootout highlight shows on MAVtv.