Natalie Decker gains positions to finish 16th in Pocono
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
After a difficult qualifying, Natalie Decker ran a clean, solid race at Pocono Raceway to finish 16th in the NASCAR Gander Truck Series.
The 22-year old girl from Wisconsin qualified 24th for the NASCAR Gander Truck Series round at Pocono,
It could have turned into a troubled race as soon as the first caution came out right at the first lap of the race, when Frieson spun at turn one and collected the #15 driven by Anthony Alfredo, also triggering a second incident when Rhodes wasn't able to avoid Natalie Decker and hit the truck #54. Decker somehow made a remarkable save and wasn't spun around completely but only picked up minor damage to the rear of her Toyota Tundra.
The race resumed at lap 6, but the action didn't last long, as Bryan Duzant went into the wall.
At the green flag, Sauter and Currey made contact but without bringing out a further caution.
Natalie Decker brought herself up to 19th position and finished the first stage there, before coming back to the pits for her first stop.
The DGR Crosley driver advanced to 17th at the beginning of the second stage, before Sheldon Creed made contact with the wall, dropping down the order.
Decker ran cleanly and managed to gain some more positions to finish the second stage in P12.
The race went green again after the last round of pit-stops and the young NASCAR star battled hard for the top 15 with consistent race pace.
As positions started to settle down, Decker found herself in 16th and started to close the gap on Austin Wayne Self, but couldn't ultimately attempt a move in the final laps. She crossed the finish line 1.1 seconds off the top 15, to take a convincing 16th place finish at the Tricky Triangle of Pocono.
"Checkered flag dropped and we finished P16" - commented Decker via her social media profiles. "We came here to grow and learn and I truly feel we did. I wanted a top 15 but I'm happy with my team and crew cheif Frank, I cant Thank them enough!"
"We all worked so hard and never gave up! We didn't get the big Qualifying run so we had to start deep in the field but I learned so much on all those restarts."
She also thanked her spotter Kevin Hamlin and all the fans on the stands and online.
Ross Chastain won his third Truck Series race, ahead of Tyler Ankrum and Harrison Burton.
The other lady driver in the race, Jennifer Jo-Cobb, ran for most of the race in the positions from P25 to P20, ultimately finishing 21st.
Decker will be back in the NASCAR Gander Truck Series at Michigan International Speedway in two weeks time.
In Natalie's words:
"One spot away from a top 15! Those restarts were wild at the beginning of the race! I’m so proud of my team and can’t wait for the next one!"
Ph credits: DGR Crosley