Concord, North Carolina (August 14, 2018) – Ferris wheels, elephant ears and race cars will take center stage this weekend when the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards returns to the glorious Illinois Springfield State Fairgrounds dirt mile for the 56th running of the Allen Crowe 100 on Sunday, August 19.
Closing in on the final stretch of her first full season of ARCA competition, 21-year old Natalie Decker will fill the seat of her familiar No.25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota for her first ever start on Springfield’s historic dirt mile.
“This is one of the races I’ve been looking forward to all season long,” said Decker. “This is what makes the ARCA Series so cool. Going to Springfield is definitely exciting. I don’t have much experience on dirt but I look at it and prepare just like any other race. My goals are the same. I’m here to learn and get as much experience as I can.”
Decker, who will become just the 10th female to compete in ARCA’s late summer dirt classic, will have plenty of help in her corner with the recent addition of crew chief Frank Kimmel calling the shots. Not surprising, Kimmel is the all-time series leader with 80-victories, also holds the series modern day record for ARCA wins on dirt with 14 – collecting eight checkered flags at Springfield. Kimmel made 503 starts during his decorated ARCA driving career.
“I’ll spend a lot of time reviewing film to prepare for Sunday’s race but I’ll also go to Frank (Kimmel) for some pointers. He’s been really good offering advice all season long. Even when he wasn’t crew chiefing for me he’s always been there helping me along. He’s had so much success driving at Springfield and on the dirt – I’m hoping to pick up on it fast and have a solid race.”
The driver / crew chief combination of Decker and Kimmel debuted last month at Elko Speedway. Decker finished fifth.
Springfield will mark Decker’s second start on dirt of her racing career. In 2016 she won driving a super stock truck event in her home state at Tomahawk Speedway.
The Eagle River, WI native is currently sixth in the ARCA driver point standings. In fifteen season starts she’s earned two top-5’s and five top-10 finishes. Decker made headlines winning the General Tire Pole and finishing a career high fifth during this year’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Performing on racing’s biggest stage, she added her name to the record books becoming just the third woman in ARCA’s history and fourth in Daytona’s 59-year track history to start a race from the pole position.
ARCA, considered the most versatile and leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country, has run 357 dirt races since the series’ inception in 1953. Of Venturini Motorsports’ 48 series victories, the longtime series team has earned four wins on dirt, two each at Springfield and DuQuoin since 2010 – Steve Arpin (DuQuoin ’10), Brennan Poole (Springfield ’13), Kevin Swindell (Springfield ’14) and Tom Hessert (DuQuoin ’16).
Noteworthy, the best finishing position for a female driver in the Allen Crowe 100 goes to Taylor Ferns who was just 17 years old when she posted that ninth place finish in 2013 driving for Venturini Motorsports. Ferns also has the best starting position of any female driver in ARCA at the Illinois State Fair, starting fifth in 2013.
The Allen Crowe 100 is coming Sunday, August 19th. The grandstands will open at 8:30 AM, followed by practice at 9:00 AM, qualifying at 11:00 AM and an on-track autograph session scheduled for 12:15 PM. MAVTV will broadcast the race live starting at 1:30 PM. All times local.
Credit: Venturini Motorsports