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Hailie Deegan set for new crew chief after AM Racing changes

Hailie Deegan will have a new person running the No. 15 team this weekend as she heads to Portland International Raceway.

AM Racing, the team fielding Deegan's Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, announced Tuesday night that it had parted ways with crew chief Joe Williams. This move went into effect immediately.

In Williams's place will be Matt Lucas, who currently serves as AM Racing's competition director. Lucas will be the interim crew chief for Portland and for Sonoma the following week.

"We thank Joe for his time at AM Racing and wish him best in his future endeavors," the team said in a statement.

Deegan made a full-time move to Xfinity this season after three seasons in Trucks split between David Gilliland Racing -- now Tricon Garage -- and ThorSport Racing.

Deegan has made 12 starts this season in the No. 15 Ford. She has a season-best finish of 12th at Talladega and she has three DNFs after being caught up in multi-car incidents.

This is a far cry from the 2022 season when Deegan made her Xfinity debut with SS Green Light Racing and finished 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Lucas and Deegan will have their first opportunity to work together on the track Saturday morning. Xfinity teams will have practice at the Oregon road course before heading immediately into qualifying. The Xfinity race will take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET (FS1).

Williams spent last season overseeing the No. 25 AM Racing team when Brett Moffitt was the full-time driver. Moffitt, who won the 2018 Truck Series championship, posted nine top-10 finishes and one top-five. He ended the season 15th in the Xfinity standings after missing the playoffs.

Lucas has extensive experience as an Xfinity crew chief, although he has not served in this role since the 2019 season.

Lucas has been atop the pit box for 104 races dating back to the 2012 season. He has worked with such drivers as Erik Jones, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Blake Koch, Ryan Truex, Justin Marks, Kyle Busch, and Daniel Suarez.

This tenure in Xfinity includes a pair of victories. Lucas was Matt Kenseth's crew chief for 16 races during the 2013 season. They celebrated wins at Daytona International Speedway and Kansas Speedway. They posted top-10 finishes in 14 of the 16 races.

Along with the time in Xfinity, Lucas was the crew chief for the No. 61 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota during the 2022 Truck season. He guided Chase Purdy to top-10 finishes at World Wide Technology Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway.

Lucas returned to Trucks this season for two races with Lawless Alan at Reaume Brothers Racing.