Natalie Decker 16th at Talladega Truck series debut
Natalie Decker survived the anticipated Talladega drama finishing in a convincing 16th place.
As announced prior to the event, Natalie Decker took part in the Talladega round of the NASCAR Gander Truck series with a special blue livery on her Toyota Tundra, following the partnership deal with Double D Express Towing & Transport.
Natalie previously raced on Alabama's most famous racetrack during her ARCA experience in the past years, but last weekend's event marked only the second time that the 22-year old American started a Superspeedway race in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, after the previously unlucky seasonal opening round at Daytona.
The Sugarlands Shine 250 provided to series lovers a dramatic round, with a post-race winner proclamation by the race officials and with a strong performance by the Wisconsin's lady, who was able to bring home a 16th place finish.
On Saturday's qualifying, Decker improved her Friday's practice session performances and earned a 19th starting grid position for the 2.66-mile Superspeedway race.
The #54 Toyota Tundra driver had a good start and when the first caution was called out, she found herself just one place behind the top 20, but immediately moved up to 16th due to different stategies. The DGR Crosley crew opted to keep Natalie Decker out on track during the Pace Car laps, while other teams pitted before the green flag restart.
Ten laps after the first caution, another yellow flag waved on the Alabama Superspeedway, determining the 22nd first stage position for Natalie Decker, who conducted some solid battles in the middle of the group. During the first 20 laps of the second stage, the young lady driver lost some pace and dropped to 25th in a difficult moment of her race.
Misfortune hit the #54 truck in the second half of the race, when Natalie went a lap down following an additional pit-stop, caused by some issues encountered in the previous one.
Despite these drawbacks, Natalie Decker finished strongly and took home a convincing 16th place in her first Gander Outdoors Truck Series contested at Talladega Superspeedway.
"I love Talladega, and it was a great race. My whole DGR Crosley team worked really well together, and we missed a lot of wrecks. I wish that we could have had a better finish, but we will definitely take a 16th place and carry the positive momentum going into Martinsville." commented Decker after the race.
This 2019 edition of the race also featured the classic "Big One" Talledega multi-car crash, caused by a contact between Ross Chastain and Sheldon Creed, which involved ten cars in the incident.
Spencer Boyd took his first ever career series victory after crossing the finish line behind Johnny Sauter. The #13 Ford driver was in fact penalized as he dropped below the boundary line 200 yards before the flag stand while leading the race.
Natalie Decker will be back behind the wheel of the #54 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville Speedway on October 26th. It will be her first appearance at the Virginia state circuit.
In Natalie's words:
"I wish that we could have had a better finish, but we will definitely take a 16th place finish and carry the positive momentum going into Martinsville."