Natalie Decker: 17th in first Dover appearance

Natalie Decker took home a 17th place finish in her No. 54 N29 Technologies LLC Toyota on Friday evening in the JEGS 200 after running a clean race.

Decker fired up her No. 54 N29 Technologies Toyota Tundra at Dover from the 20th starting position. Early on she was looking to find her comfortability with the track.

22 laps into the race she went a lap down and by lap 39 she had dropped back to 25th place. That is where she would end stage one in, as she came int the pits to get some adjustments.

“The car is really free off the wall all the way through the center. Going to make some changes to the track bar and a tire pressure change.” said Chuck Decker after the end of stage one. 

Stage two started with Decker still in 25th, and was much of the same as stage one, with the field going green the entirety of the stage. On Lap 70 she would go down two laps down, and then on lap 73, she gained a spot to finish the stage in 24th.

Under the stage end caution, Decker came into the pits and got a great stop to put Decker out 21st for the final restart. She was scored as the 2nd truck two laps down, with only 18 trucks left on the lead lap.

Seven laps after the field went back to green for the final stage, Decker was able to climb back into her starting position of 20th.

Then on lap 112, the first caution of the day for an incident came out as Korbin Forrister got loose coming out of turn four, spun and hit the outside wall and went down the track on the front stretch making contact with the inside wall as well. No other trucks were involved though.

After the field went back green, Decker found herself up to 19th, sitting now as the first car two laps down. She would maintain that 19th position over the course of the next 28 laps, however going down three laps on lap 149.

The caution flag once again peeked out on the party during lap 155 for an incident between Austin Self and Todd Gilliland on the front stretch. This sent Self from a battle for the lead to three laps down quickly. Decker was able to avoid the incident once again but fell back to 20th.

Then after only a lap and a half of green flag action, the caution flew once again, this time for a three-truck incident. It came a lap after the restart as the field came out of turn two with Harrison Burton and Sheldon Creed battling for fourth, when Creed got loose, slid sideways on the backstretch and then slammed into the passenger’s side of Todd Gilliland’s car up against the inside wall, causing severe damage to both machines.

This eliminated Creed as Decker moved up to 19th for the restart. Things would remain clean for the better part of the end of the race until Brennan Poole found himself in the wall with only eight laps to go.

Decker was then able to improve her position to 17th and hold on to that spot as the checkered flag flew at Dover International Speedway. She was tied for 2nd as a closer, taking two positions in the final 10 laps, one of just six trucks to improve their position in the final 10 laps.

“The Monster Mile has been really hard, I’ve learned a lot. at the beginning we really struggled a lot, we were really free and I was still learning.” said Natalie Decker after the race, “But at the end there, I really kind of figured more of it out and my spotter, he really helped me out. So I liked the way we were driving at the end, I just wish we would have gotten a better finish.“