Women in Racing: Natalie Decker

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Credits: Mario Schlimper /Threewide

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

With only 22 years Natalie Decker is already one of the shooting stars in the NASCAR. We will introduce that young woman to you.

Born in Eagle River, Wisconsin, Natalie Decker belongs to a family that has deep roots in snowmobile racing. Until 2018 her father Chuck was the owner of the Eagle River Derby Track, which hosts the annual World Championship Snowmobile Derby. She started her career on snowmobiles, but at the age of 9 she was driving a kart for the very first time in her life. In the following two years she won 4 championships in kart racing. In 2010 she switched from kart to stockcars, starting with the Modifieds and later the Super Stocks. In 2012 she won the Central Wisconsin Super Stock Association, short CWSSA. Additionally in that year she was awarded as “Sportsmen of the Year” and “Most Improved Driver”.

Royal Broil, “7.2.15 State Park Speedway – Super Late Model winner Natalie Decker”, CC BY-SA 2.0

When she moved up to the Late Models in 2013 that paved the way for her career in the NASCAR. She was third in the overall standings of the ARCA Midwest Truck Tour with 4 Top 3-finishes and became the first woman who received the “Rookie of the Year”-Award. In the following year she won the track championship of the State Park Speedway Limited Models with 7 wins in 10 races. She also did the Super Late Models, where she was 4th overall and finished as “Rookie of the Year”. Both in 2013 and 2014 she was selected for the NASCAR Rev Racing Drive for Diversity Combine and joined Rev Racing for the season 2015.

Although Decker is still quite young, she has already set a number of records. In 2015 she was the first woman to finish on the podium in the ARCA Midwest Tour. With P7 in 2017 she was the best finishing woman on a road course in the history of the ARCA. In the following year she had the best qualifying result on a Superspeedway with P5.

Royal Broil, “8.27.17 Road America / ARCA – 25 Natalie Decker”, CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2019 started off into his first season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, although it was only a part-time contract. In 2020 she is driving the #44 of Niece Motorsport, again with a part-time contract. Before the pandemic postponed the season, she was able to put herself again in the history books. With P5 at the season opener at Daytona she had the highest finish of a woman in the Truck Series.

Although Natalie Decker was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 2, that couldn’t stop her from following her dreams and trying to be a role model for other people. “It’s my dream to make it to the Cup. My goals that I have in my profession are to do the best I can at what I love, but also give others someone to look to when they are lost or down and need inspiration”, Decker said in an interview with Threewide.

“Your not going to get around the fact that I’m a female, so lots of different sponsors and media outlets are going to use that!”, Decker continued. It’s no problem for her that people sometimes rather look at her being a female than a race driver, as the interest in her is also an advantage. Nevertheless she doesn’t want to be reduced to that only. “Women in any professional spot can be beautiful, caring, sweet, and still good at what they do. Women can be all those things and still a professional athlete or CEO.”

Credits: Nina Weinbrenner/Threewide

While the lockdown due to the pandemic had an impact on some of the smaller series running under NASCAR, it didn’t affect Decker’s plans for 2020. As she is quite active in social media, she was able to represent her sponsors. She is also aware of the growing interest from fans from Germany. “I love it so much! It makes me so happy that I’m reaching that far and have fans all the way in Germany.”

Right now she is not planning on a guest start in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. “I think it’s amazing that there are other series like that! But my goal is to keep working hard to stay in the NASCAR series. I love doing other racing like road racing as well but my dreams and goals are to make it to the Cup!”

Credits: Tom Threewide /Threewide
 

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