SCOTT Rookie of the Year contender Natalie Decker will make her third start of the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards this afternoon in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway.
With nine ARCA starts overall going back to Toledo 2017, her Salem appearance marks her debut at the storied southern Indiana short track.
Decker talked to WSLM’s Becky White on Friday morning’s Coffee Club about how she got started in racing.
“I grew up in a racing family. My dad owns the World Championship Snowmobile Derby,” she said. “My brother races snowmobiles. I finally found out what a go-kart was when I was 7. For my 9th birthday, my dad got me a go-kart and that’s how it all started. I raced for three years. When I was 12, dad got me into a full size stock car. I didn’t know how to drive a stick. He got me to my first race and I told him the night before I didn’t know how to drive stick. And he taught me the night before in a Jeep around the campgrounds.”
A fan favorite, Decker, 20, started out the season winning the General Tire Pole Award and finishing fifth at Daytona. After her 11th-place finish at Nashville, the Eagle River, Wis. racer finds herself third in ARCA championship standings headed to Salem.
“I’m super excited to make my first start at Salem,” said Decker. “I came down with the team (Venturini Motorsports) last year after signing my deal to get acquainted with everyone and watch the Spring race. It didn’t take long for me to figure out why drivers like this place. It’s really racy with unique turns on both ends of the track. From a fan’s perspective it delivers a lot of excitement. I fell in love with this place right away.”
She also tested for the first time last week.
“We came down last week and had a really good test with our N29 Capital Partners Toyota. It’s definitely a tough track but we learned a lot and made some big gains throughout the day. Dave Leiner (crew chief) and I continue to work really well together and have a lot of confidence in each other. As I visit these new tracks this year we’ll continue to work hard and set our goals. I grew up racing short tracks but there’s still a lot to learn in these ARCA cars. I’m happy with our start so far.”
Continuing her efforts to raise awareness about Distracted Driving, the 20-year-old driver will once again feature ‘People Against Distracted Driving’ (PADD) on the back of her bright red Toyota Camry at Salem.
Decker, the National Spokesperson for the New Jersey based charity, along with her sponsor N29 Capital Partners, will continue to push the message during the month of April (Distracted Driving Awareness Month) and throughout the season.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 is spread out over the weekend with ARCA practice and pole qualifying scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Practice and qualifications for the Lucas Oil Great American Stocks will also take place on Saturday.
The ARCA 200 is slated to roll off at 2:15 on Sunday afternoon. The Lucas Oil Great American Stocks kicks-off Sunday’s action with the Ford Go Further 50 at 1 p.m.
The First Harrison Bank on-track autograph session is scheduled to get underway at 11:30 a.m.
Tickets, both reserved and general admission, are now selling for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 and can be purchased by calling 812-883- 6504 or 1-888- 246-7223. Tickets are also available on-line at www.salemspeedway.com.