Uphill race for Natalie Decker in Las Vegas
After the historical fifth place at Daytona, Natalie Decker met a challenging round at Las Vegas, as an early penalty compromised the second race of her NASCAR Truck series schedule.
Natalie Decker entered Friday's Strat 200 event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway coming from the best finish result for a female driver in the history of NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, as last weekend's opening round at Daytona International Speedway saw the 22-year old American claiming a P5.
The second round went underway from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a friendly track for the Wisconsin's lady: at that same place, Decker scored a thirteenth place finish last year, her best result of her 2019 Truck Series partial campaign at the wheel of the DGR Crosley #44 team.
Natalie Decker took the start with a new blue and white livery, dedicated to the the partnership with REMarkable Pillow.
"I'm so thankful to have REMarkable Pillow on board for 2020!" - she commented.
"Their name says it all! The pillows are truly remarkable and for any athlete it's super important to get a good night's sleep." - added Decker before the event.
When the green flag waved, the new Niece Motorsport driver took the start from the 29th place as a result of her qualifying effort, and tried to make up positions in the opening phases of the race before the first caution was called out for a third lap spin by Derek Kraus.
Decker dropped a lap down half-way through the first stage, but she was then able to climb the order in the final laps and came back for the pit stop break sitting in 27th place.
At the start of the second stage, a penality for fuelling twice under caution while being the free pass truck dropped Natalie in 29th position and two laps down. The early penalty ultimately compromised the rest of the strategy, preventing the driver of the #44 truck to compete for the higher positions during the remaining of the race.
Decker fought to recover the laps gap and was later helped by a couple of yellow flags in the final stage, after an incident by Christian Eckes on lap 74 and a subsequent caution for a contact between Grant Enfinger and Raphael Lassard, as Decker recovered to the 25th place with 40 laps to go.
The final stage came to a close with the 57th victory for race dominator and NASCAR star Kyle Busch, who crossed the line with a 6 seconds margin over Johnny Sauter, claiming the win in his home race.
At the end of the 134 laps, Natalie Decker finished 21th.
"It's not the finish we wanted at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, we couldn't get that lap back from the pit infraction, but the truck was solid and we ran some good lap times at the end." - she commented.
"I also can chalk up alot of seat time, learning and finish. I will take that away from this race track and come in strong to Texas Motor Speedway!"
Natalie Decker will in fact will be back behind the wheel of the # 44 Niece Motorsports truck at the Vankor 350 event in Texas on March 27th, a round that was initially not announced as part of her championship part-time schedule.
In Natalie's words:
"It's not the finish we wanted at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, we couldn't get that lap back from the pit infraction, but the truck was solid and we ran some good lap times at the end."
Ph credits: Niece Motorsports