Toledo, Ohio — The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is coming to Chicagoland Speedway for the SCOTT 150 on Thursday, June 28 and Daytona pole winner Natalie Decker will be leading the charge in her quest to become the storied sanctioning body’s first-ever female winner. Decker, a Scott Rookie Challenge contender in 2018, will be making her 17th series start and her first start at Chicagoland Speedway.
Decker started her Venturini Motorsports No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota from the pole in the season-opener at Daytona, becoming the fourth female driver in history to earn a pole at Daytona International Speedway and the third female to do so in ARCA competition. Patty Moise was the first in 1989 and Erin Crocker followed in 2007. Danica Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013.
Decker backed up her qualifying run with a fifth-place finish in the race. It is her career-best finish so far, and was the best finish by a female driver at Daytona since Shawna Robinson finished second in 1999.
“Daytona was a dream come true,” says 21-year old Decker.
“Competing on racing’s biggest stage and having the success we did was really amazing. As a driver, competing with Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Series is as good as it gets. I’ve been racing my entire life and focused on getting to the next level of racing – NASCAR. Since joining the series last season we’ve had good success. But I still believe the best is yet to come.”
ARCA’s diverse schedule includes tracks ranging in size from 2.66 miles down to just one-third of a mile, and also includes two dirt tracks. The challenging schedule is a major part of the reason Decker moved into the ARCA Racing Series when she and her sponsors started to evaluate the next step in her career as she attempts to climb up the racing ladder into stock car racing’s major league, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“I’ve gained some valuable experience on the big tracks over the last two seasons but this will be my first attempt at Chicago. I’m getting more comfortable behind the wheel each and every week. We’ve been good on the intermediate tracks but there’s still room for improvement. My focus this week is on qualifying. Starting position at these tracks is key. I feel really good about going into this week’s race.”
“Chicago is the Venturini’s hometown. Nothing would be better than giving them a strong finish in front of their hometown crowd.”
In her ten starts so far in 2018, she has one top-five finish, Daytona, and has scored four other top-ten results. Her most recent finish among the top ten was a sixth-place finish at Madison International Speedway in her native Wisconsin. She currently sits seventh in the series championship standings.
Additionally, she will be a part of history at Chicagoland as her Venturini Motorsports team will field three female drivers in the SCOTT 150, the first time one team has entered three female drivers in a single national-level stock car event. Leilani Munter will drive the No. 20 Vegan Strong Toyota, while Toni Breidinger will drive the No. 55 Tork/Nortown Automotive Toyota. The fourth member of their team for the Chicagoland event is Daytona winner Michael Self.
The SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 at 9 pm ET on Thursday, June 28. Tickets are still available by visiting the track ticket office, and discount tickets are available at many local in-market Menards stores. ARCARacing.com will have live timing and scoring information from every practice session, qualifying, and during the race for registered users.
-ARCA Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com