Concord, NC (June 5, 2018) – Natalie Nation can breathe a sigh of relief. Natalie Decker, the popular 20-year old driver, returns to the action this weekend when the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards invades Michigan International Speedway on Friday June 8 for the 37th running of the ZOMONGO 200.
In a well-documented storyline, Decker was partially sidelined last week at Pocono Raceway after undergoing successful hernia surgery on May 25, the day after competing at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On the mend and unable to go the distance, Decker was relegated to taking one-lap in last Friday’s #AnywhereIsPossible 200 at the Tricky Triangle, before giving way to Venturini Motorsports’ (VMS) relief driver Brennan Poole.
Poole, returning to his VMS/ARCA roots, restarted the race 30th after completing a quick driver change with Decker on pit road.
In the seat and scored in last place, Poole raced his way up to the leader’s bumper before settling for an eighth-place finish driving Decker’s now familiar No.25 N29 Capital Partners – Yamaha Power Products Toyota.
“I was overly optimistic thinking I could be ready for Pocono,” said Decker. “My doctor kept me out knowing it would be best long term – we didn’t want to chance missing any more races. I’m feeling 100% better now and ready to go at Michigan.”
Despite her distinctive positive and infectious personality, the competitor side of Decker admits how difficult it was to miss out on Pocono.
“It was extremely hard to watch the race from the pit box. As a racer you never want to miss a race – whatever the reason. But with the bad is the good. Brennan (Poole) was amazing and had a strong finish. I learned so much – he taught me a lot.”
Decker’s next start on the ultra-fast Michigan surface will mark the driver’s first time competing at the Irish Hills area track.
“I’m seeing most of these tracks for the first time. ARCA has a great schedule. Coming from short track racing it’s exciting to be able to race on the big tracks. Michigan will be another first. The air in traffic at these tracks really disrupt the handling of the car. These opportunities give me experience for the next one. It’s all about learning and getting better.”
Decker, who started the season winning the General Tire Pole Award at Daytona and finishing a career best fifth, currently occupies the fifth spot in the series’ driver point standings with 1,410 points – 320 markers behind the top spot.
Friday’s Michigan television broadcast marks the first time that MAVTV will air an ARCA superspeedway race event.
The on-track ARCA action begins Friday with practice from 9 – 11 a.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. The Michigan ARCA 200 is scheduled to get underway Friday at 5:30 p.m. ARCAracing.com will provide live timing, scoring and chat.
Credit: Venturini Motorsports