Will compete in the ARCA Midwest Tour race prior to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec
Natalie Decker will celebrate her 19th birthday on June 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park. Although no particular site on the property has been selected, odds are she wouldn’t mind cutting her birthday cake and making a wish in Domino’s Victory Lane behind pit road.
Decker competes in the ARCA Midwest Tour and will drive in her first race at GMP in the Illinois Lottery Presents ARCA Midwest 50. Although she is a newcomer to GMP’s challenging asphalt oval, Decker is not intimidated by its unique characteristics.
“Our team is super excited to race at Gateway! This will be our biggest track we have ever raced on,” Decker said. “Gateway’s track is a favorite of many who race there due to its unique shape and different degrees of banking in each corner.
“It will be very important for me to give Tom Ress, my crew chief, detailed feedback on the handling of the car during test laps so we can get it dialed in right away,” Decker said. “Then I can really focus on mastering the track with some good test sessions. Turns 1 and 2 have similarities to New Hampshire while turns 3 and 4 mimic Phoenix. The egg-shaped oval is very much like Darlington. I am really looking forward to racing on the same day as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. If the opportunity arises I will look to some of the Truck drivers for advice on driving the track.
“It’s my birthday on the day of the race at Gateway so my birthday wish is to be the first female to win in the ARCA Midwest Tour,” Decker said.
When not competing in the ARCA Midwest Tour, Decker races at short tracks around her hometown of Eagle River, Wisconsin, in the Super Late Model class. She’s won twice this year at her home track (State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin) and Marshfield (Wisconsin) Motor Speedway.
Her racing career began in karts at age nine. At age 12 she graduated to Mod 4. Through the years she moved up the ladder faster than her parents could keep up with her.
“Each year Natalie’s driving improved so fast and she would be running at the front of her class, before the season ended I would be searching for a car for the next level,” said Natalie’s father, Chuck Decker.
Following successful seasons in Super Stocks, Limited Late Models and Midwest Truck Tour competition, Decker graduated to Super Late Models. She participated in Rev Racing’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine in 2013 and 2014.
She was selected by NASCAR to join their Drive for Diversity program in 2015 and battled weekly with the best short track racers in the country at the rugged Hickory Motor Speedway just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. She also raced from Wisconsin to Florida in her family-owned Super Late Model that year and scored four wins.
And here’s an interesting fact: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Danica Patrick’s middle name is Sue, in honor of Sue Decker (Natalie’s mother). Sue is responsible for arranging a blind date for Danica’s parents, the former Beverly Flaten and T.J. Patrick — and the rest, as they say, is history.
To follow Natalie on social media: @Natalieracing on Twitter or www.nataliedeckerracing.com.
NASCAR DRIVIN’ FOR LINEMEN 200 BROUGHT TO YOU BY ALTEC SCHEDULE
Friday, June 24
5-6 p.m. — NASCAR garages open to the public.
6-10 p.m. — Party at the ‘Plex at the Gateway Kartplex (kart racing, music, entertainment). NASCAR drivers have been invited to participate.
Saturday, June 25
8 a.m. — Spectator gates open.
8:30-9:25 a.m. — First NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice.
9:30-10:20 a.m. — First USAC practice.
10:30-11:55 a.m. — Final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice.
12:30 p.m. — USAC qualifying.
1 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour practice.
1:45-2:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver autograph session (infield area).
2:15 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour qualifying.
3 p.m. — USAC driver introductions.
3:30 p.m. — Vatterott College Silver Crown Showdown (USAC Silver Crown Series, 60 laps, 75 miles).
4:45 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds).
6 p.m. — Illinois Lottery Presents ARCA Midwest 50 (40 laps, 50 miles, timed event).
7 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec driver introductions.
7:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec (160 laps, 200 miles).
Schedule is subject to change.