Natalie Decker picks up speed across a NASCAR Xfinity race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Natalie Decker, Step One Motorsports ambassador and NASCAR series driver, jumped behind the wheel of the No. 8 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet Camaro at NASCAR Xfinity’s Alsco Uniforms 300 race weekend with Cracker Jack backing her as a sponsor. The brand brought Decker on board their “Cracker Jill” initiative which aims to amplify women in sports. Charlotte Motor Speedway, the venue playing host, has existed on the series’ calendar for nearly 50 years. The track, which broke ground in 1959, features banking at five degrees on its straights and 24 degrees on its turns, which drivers must navigate alongside the rest of the field at speeds that exceed 115 miles an hour (185 kilometers an hour) on average. This is a challenge that Decker did not turn away from but, rather, embraced head-on at every step of the way in a showcase of clean racing and confidence.
Decker’s qualifying position had her starting in P33 for Saturday’s race, however, the race was unable to go to its full distance that day due to inclement, rainy weather in the area, knocking her out of the rhythm she’d built up until that point. Proceedings were rescheduled for Monday, and ultimately ended up being completed late in the day as weather allowed. Decker describes this weekend as a learning experience in what she considers to be her first true “mile-and-a-half” race in the NASCAR Xfinity series. A mile-and-a-half track requires a bit of finesse utilizing the throttle and braking to complete a fast lap. It has been three years since Decker competed at this venue, and it was in Trucks, so she had to quickly adapt and adjust her driving to account for the differences in both the vehicle she was behind the wheel of as well as how the time of day the race occurred affected the track itself. Upon the wave of the checkered flag, Decker crossed the line in P34. There’s no doubt that from practice to qualifying to the race the pilot of the No. 8 car picked up speed and plenty of useful tidbits that she’ll be able to carry onward to future competitive outings.
Stay tuned for news coming soon on when Decker will next take to the track and display her race craft once more.