Unlucky Natalie Decker out of Road America Xfinity race after positive run
A crash occurring right ahead of her forced Natalie Decker to an early retirement at her home race at Road America, after another positive run by the young rookie in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Natalie Decker headed to Road America last weekend for the Henry 180 event at Elkhart Lake, the fourth out of the five races on the young driver's 2021 partial campaign in the NASCAR Xfinity series.
Decker 's #23 Chevrolet Camaro changed her usual livery in favour of a new black, white and green color scheme in partnership with new sponsor 'NERD Focus', an energy drink created in 2006 by students from University of Texas.
"As a professional driver, energy and focus are crucial in getting you across the finish line as quickly as possible,” said Decker prior to the event on her home track in Wisconsin.
“NERD approached me several months back about trying their brand, and I was instantly intrigued with the boost I felt and how refreshing the taste was." - she added, excited about the new partership. "I’ve personally been enjoying the brand for several months and feel confident in having them be a part of my team through this sponsorship.”
Unfortunately, the luck was not on Natalie's side during the Road America weekend, as the 22 year old driver was forced to an early retirement during Stage 3.
Part of the Our Motosports' team for her first Xfinity series appearances, Decker had a positive run in qualifying and then showed more good pace in both the two opening stages of the Henry 180 event.
Stage 1 and 2 remained under the control of AJ Allmendinger, who once again gave proof of his speed on road courses and won both the stages with a solid gap from the rest of the field, before being dropped to the back at the start of Stage 3 due a pit stop infraction.
Justin Allgaier initially took the lead, followed by Kyle Busch. Half-way through the final stage, it would be Austin Cindric to clinch the top spot: the driver of the #22 Penske Ford pulled away from the rest of the pack.
A caution would cost Cindric the lead and allowed the drivers that had opted to stay out to move at the top of the leaderboard, as Noah Gragson inherited first place.
Successively, Harrison Burton and Myatt Snider collided - the driver of the Childress Racing #02 had the worst out of it and impacted against the wall; this accident also involved two of the main protagonists, Cindric and Allgaier, who made contact as the pack slowed down.
Both the top runners was able to continue their run, but they could nothing against Kyle Busch's superiority in the final phases.
The series veteran clinched the top position and led the field until the chequered flag, thus winning his fourth 2021 Xfinity series round in a row with a 3 second gap to Daniel Hemric and Micheal Annett, who completed the top three.
After a solid run, Natalie Decker was forced to retire with only 8 laps to go, when she was involved in one of the incidents happening just in front of her, preventing the young home hero to see the chequered flag.
"Laid down some good laps with 8 to go and then a wreck in front of me happened and he slid down across the track and left us behind him no where to go." - commented Decker.
"Tore us up pretty bad but my team worked hard to get back out until they saw water under the car…Our day was done." - she summed up on her social media profiles.
Decker hads certainly not enjoyed much luck in her rookie experiences in the series, but has nevertheless shown promising pace and has often run within the top-20.
The Wisconsin native will resume her NASCAR Xfinity Series part-time commitments at Martinsville Speedway, next October 30th.