ASHLEY ASKS……. Natalie Decker
After scoring nine top-10’s in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competition, Natalie Decker is set to run a limited schedule in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series for DGR-Crosley Racing.
The 21-year-old recently shared her thoughts with POPULAR SPEED on the opportunity and her career thus far.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the upcoming season?
NATALIE DECKER: I’m super excited to be doing the truck series, and then a little bit of ARCA and K&N. I think it’s just a great opportunity, and I’m so thankful for my sponsor N29 for bringing me into this next step of my career. I’m really thankful for the team that I’m going to be on – DGR Crosley. I think it’s going to be a really good fit, and I can’t wait to see how Daytona goes.
PS: Looking at your limited truck schedule, what are your goals and expectations?
NATALIE: I feel like my goals would be to finish all the races, and learn as much as I can, and my expectation is it’s going to be really hard. It’s definitely a big step, but I’m really ready to take it. I believe that I have a great team behind me that’ll help me along the way.
PS: What track are you most looking forward to?
NATALIE: That’s a good question. I’m really excited for Daytona; we ran really well there last year with the team (Venturini Motorsports) that I raced with last year in the ARCA Series. That was really fun; it was my first time on a superspeedway. So I’m definitely looking forward to Daytona, but a dream of mine since I was really little was to always race at Bristol. The more I learn more about racing and the older that I got, I realized that is a really tough track but I’m so excited it’s on my schedule.
PS: You were selected as a possible candidate for the W Series. What has that been like for you?
NATALIE: Well, I haven’t gotten to do much with the W Series, but right after the ARCA test in Daytona, I’ll be flying out to Austria to do the final selection and I’m really excited. My brother is going to come with me, and I think it will be a great experience. I’m focusing on NASCAR, but this is such a great opportunity for me to meet other drivers and other people in the motorsports industry, and I think it’s a great opportunity for me to go to a different track all the way across the world and drive definitely a different kind of racecar that I’m used to.
PS: You’ve gotten to do a lot at a young age already, whether road racing or oval – a variety of series. What’s that experience been like for you?
NATALIE: I think it’s super helpful. My dad was telling me that anytime you have a chance to drive any kind of car, whether four-cylinder at your home track on a short track, or a trans-am at Daytona, you need to do it. No matter what it is, it is seat time and it well help you and you will always learn something. The more I’ve done that throughout my career, it’s been fun to drive all these different types of cars and all different types of racing, and I really think it helps in making you a better driver.
PS: What is something that you haven’t gotten a chance to race yet that you’d like to, though?
NATALIE: Oh man, that’s a good question. I tested an LMP3 car, which is a prototype, kind of what they do at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona; I tested one at Sebring, but I haven’t raced one yet and that’s a goal of mine. So I hope I can make that happen one day.
PS: Admittedly, you’ve had a lot of people critical of you thus far in your career, too. What is one thing that you want to say for the critics?
NATALIE: They don’t know the whole story, that’s for sure, just like any other person; I’m just a normal person in the public eye. But I would like to tell them they don’t know the whole story, but thank you to all of them because it definitely pushes me harder, it makes me want to work harder for myself and prove to myself and them and the fans that support me that anything is possible and you can make your dreams come true.
PS: Being one of the upcoming female drivers, what would your advice be for other females?
NATALIE: I would tell other females, especially the young girls in go-karts and super late models and stuff, that there’s going to be a lot of ups-and-downs, but that one goal that you have in mind, you have to keep that in mind and don’t forget what you’re doing it for. Always go out and race for yourself, and prove to yourself how good you are, and don’t worry about what other people think.
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