Let me preface things by saying, I feel bad for Natalie Decker.
No matter what her expectations were going into the 2019 season, she never in her wildest dreams could have expected she would struggle so mightily in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. She was an intriguing prospect who was working her way through the ARCA Racing ranks, before being thrust into NASCAR National Series action.
The move obviously came too soon.
14 races into her Truck Series career, it has become apparent that there are only three guarantees in life: Death, taxes and Decker being involved in a crash.
The Wisconsin-native has now been involved in 15 accidents so far this season, including three Thursday night in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
No incident was more embarrassing than the one that ended her night. After bringing out the caution on lap 183, Decker’s night cam to an end after she was spun out by the tow truck as she was being pushed back to pit road.
Yes, you didn’t read that wrong, Decker has even been spun out by a tow truck now.
Oops … Wrecked by the wrecker pic.twitter.com/vxAQqvsAc2
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) August 16, 2019
Overall, Decker has eight DNFs for crashes so far this season and her average finish is an abysmal 22.6. All of this while driving in DGR Crosley Racing equipment that 18-year old Tyler Ankrum has proven is capable of winning and running for a championship.
In fact, when you take Decker’s finishes out of the equation you start to see just how bad she has been compared to the other DGR Crosley drivers in 2019.
In 29 starts in 2019 — which doesn’t include Decker’s races — the team has had one win, four top-five finishes, 12 top-10 finishes and just seven DNFs (one less than Decker’s total). Despite having seven drivers of varying experience levels drive their cars the rest of the team is averaging a finish of 14.1 for the year.
They are blowing her doors off.
What’s worse is the fact that Decker’s season has been punctuated with more embarrassing videos and highlight clips than it has been of glimpses that perhaps she will turn the corner sometime soon.
So far she has piled into the grass, which obliterated her car in Kansas.
Wow. A wild ride through the grass for Natalie Decker in Kansas. pic.twitter.com/8xdgKo3Vyx
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 11, 2019
There have been several times where she has found trouble, and FS1 has gone to her in-car audio and she sounds utterly lost when talking about what has happened.
Then of course, there was the now infamous hat flip after a dust-up with Spencer Boyd in Kentucky.
Thien of course Thursday night’s tow truck fiasco.
Decker was — and still could be someday — an intriguing prospect who shows that she could have what it takes to succeed at the highest level of racing. However, this 2019 season has been a huge deterrent of the confidence for the 22-year old driver.
I sincerely hope she can rebound from it. Decker has shown that she has a great personality and engages well with fans on social media. Nut the longer her stretch of mediocrity lasts behind the wheel, the less and less chance she has of turning things around.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.