This week has been busy for 17-year-old Natalie Decker. The Eagle River, Wisconsin driver was announced as one of the six drivers that will be participating in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) program in 2015.
Decker, along with Dylan Smith, will be part of Rev Racing’s Late Model program this year.
“I am excited for this opportunity,” Decker recently told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We are going to have a great time working with each other.”
Last year, Decker made the big jump to Super Late Models competing in various events in the Midwest, mainly in central Wisconsin. She finished third in the point standings at Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wisconsin. She was only 14 points behind in the final standings.
“One of my big highlights was back in June last year. I wasn’t good at qualifying and had to race through the semi-feature. We won the semi-feature and my crew chief challenged me to get a top three finish. I wanted to prove to my dad that we had a fast car,” Decker recalled. “I started near the back and by the end of the race I was on the leader’s bumper on the last lap and got a second-place finish. That was my favorite race last year.”
She isn’t the only racer in her family. Her cousins, Paige and Claire Decker also race Late Models in the Midwest. Paige was also part of the D4D program in 2014.
“Paige was really helpful with my tryout this year,” Natalie Decker said. “She gave me some advice on what to expect and it really got me prepared for it.”
The three Decker girls have all become accomplished Super Late Model drivers with all three winning Super Late Model features. Natalie won two Super Late Model features in 2014, along with winning features in Midwest Trucks, Limited Late Models, Super Stocks and go-karts throughout her career.
“The big thing for me is getting a lot of seat time,” Decker explained. “Any race my dad could take me too he would. The goal each time we went was to gain that time behind the wheel and learn. It has helped me so much.”
The plan for her this year with Rev Racing is to compete at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina and Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.
But she is also hoping to race in the Midwest when she gets an opportunity to compete at her favorite tracks and compete in some ARCA Midwest Tour events.
This week, she is busy at the Rev Racing shop with her fellow D4D drivers where she said she is having a lot of fun hanging out with them.
She will then head to New Smyrna Speedway to compete in the 49th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. She made her Super Late Model debut at last year’s event.
“I went to New Smyrna last year just to learn,” Decker said. “I am looking forward to going back there this to continue to learn but to race more as well. The key thing for me continues to be getting seat time.”
She won’t be the only Decker competing at New Smyrna, as her cousin Paige also announced on Facebook that she will also be racing down there this year as well.
While seat time is important to her, Natalie Decker said the biggest thing she wants to improve on this year is improving on her qualifying runs.
“I am going to try my hardest,” Decker said. “I hope to do something really great and work really hard for it.”
– Kevin Ramsell, Speed51.com Director of Business/Midwest Editor
Photo Credit: Speed51.com