The 2019 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series season for Natalie Decker was absolute hell. Decker was a constant highlight reel seemingly every week in DGR-Crosley’s No. 54 truck as she was swept up in crash after crash.
2020 is already off to a better start, just one race in to her new gig with Niece Motorsports in the No. 44 truck.
On Friday, in the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway Decker, 22, made history with an impressive fifth-place finish.
On a night where the race was marred by three huge crashes, it was Decker who kept her nose clean until the finish of the race. In the end, while eventual winner Grant Enfinger and Jordan Anderson were battling it out for the win, Decker was within an earshot of the lead.
Decker’s finish marks the best finish ever for a female in NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series history. Overall, her effort ties for the second-best finish for a driver with an X and Y chromosome in NASCAR National Series history.
The Wisconsin native’s previous best finish in the Truck Series was a 13th-place effort at Las Vegas last season.
Only Danica Patrick, who finished fourth at Las Vegas in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2011, has had a better finish in one of NASCAR’s big-three race divisions. Sara Christian scored a fifth place finish in the NASCAR Cup Series back in 1949 at Pittsburgh.
Decker has a long way to go before she makes believers out of her biggest doubters, but a few more runs like she had at Daytona on Friday night will go a long way.