JOLIET, Ill. – A lot of eyes are on the career of Natalie Decker, who is running her first part-time schedule in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2019.
Through 10 races, she has four finishes inside the top-20, with a best of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. When asked her thoughts about the season, Decker says she’s “learned a lot”, and gave a lot of praise to her team, DGR-Crosley Racing.
“I love the team that I’m with. I couldn’t have picked a better team,” Decker told POPULAR SPEED. “DGR-Crosley, they’re so amazing, and having David Gilliland as the owner and just being able to lean on him and ask him a lot of questions whenever you want, that’s just a wonderful tool to have.”
While it is her first year running multiple truck races, Decker is not inexperienced though, having competed in multiple racing series. Her 2019 schedule has included races in the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR K&N Pro East Series, in addition to making a start in the Trans-Am Series.
While knowing what to expect with ARCA being that she ran the full schedule in 2018, it made the transition to K&N easy due to being very similar. However, Trans-Am has been a different experience for her.
“That’s really fun because it’s road racing and it’s really new to me,” Decker said. “Then it’s also going to help if we ever go road racing in the truck or whatever. It’s a good experience just to always be in a race car every weekend.”
With that experience, she has developed skills, including the ability to manage a vehicle throughout lengthy portions of a race, something she believes she’s been able to carry into the truck series.
“We’re better on the long run in a race and, I feel like that’s a big strength to have no matter what you’re racing. That’s something that I’ve always really been good at so it’s good to bring it back over into the trucks. And we have every series that I’ve been in, that’s just probably one of my best strengths.”
Decker did admit though that there are areas that need to be worked on, which includes being better at the beginning of the race weekends.
“What we really need to improve on this season is when we unload for practice, especially all these new tracks we go to, is just learning faster and getting up to speed faster,” Decker said. “That will just help in the long run and that will help instead of learning it all and getting up to speed in the race, just doing it right away in practice.”
As she looks towards the rest of the season, Decker is keeping her goals within reach.
“My goal is definitely getting top-15’s,” Decker said. “That’s a big goal of mine. And then just carrying that through the rest of the season.”
Decker managed to accomplish that goal at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday night after she finished the Camping World 200 in 14th. With nine races left on her schedule, she will compete again in the No. 54 Toyota on July 11th at Kentucky Speedway.
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