By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
David Gilliland Racing – CROSLEY Group’s driver development program will expand with the addition of Natalie Decker in 2019. Decker will make starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, ARCA Racing Series, and NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Decker will make her Truck Series debut with backing from her long-time sponsor, N29 Technologies, LLC. The Eagle River, WI native spent the previous two seasons in ARCA, amassing two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 27 starts.
Decker turned heads earning a pole position in the 2018 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Her best finish in the Series is fifth (twice), at Daytona and Elko Speedway. At the end of the 2018 season, Decker finished seventh in the Championship Points Standings.
“I’m really excited to be making the step up to trucks, especially with DGR-Crosley. They bring fast Toyota’s to the track every weekend whether it be in the K&N Series or Truck Series,” said Decker. “Making the transition to trucks is going to help me progress my career and build my skillset. Being able to race in all three series will be beneficial because I can run an ARCA or K&N race that will help me prepare for the truck race.”
Although Decker ran a full season with Venturini Motorsports in 2018, her team often changed. Personnel were moved week-to-week amongst the organization’s No. 15, No. 20, No. 25, and No. 55 Toyotas. Decker had two crew chiefs in 2018 as the team’s consistency was moved around.
“I think it’s very important that I’ll have the same team around me whichever series I’m running and having David [Gilliland] there to help coach me and give me advice. Being a driver with a lot of experience and the father to a race car driver, I’m really excited to learn from him.”
The David Gilliland co-owned DGR-CROSLEY Group team made its’ debut in 2018. In 31 Truck Series events, the up-start team earned five top-five and seven top-10 finishes. The team nearly pulled off the upset with Kyle Benjamin at Martinsville Speedway, finishing an organization-best runner-up. DGR-CROSLEY also had two top-fives, five top-10s, and two pole positions in seven ARCA starts.
“I’m excited to be adding Natalie to our 2019 driver roster at DGR-Crosley,” said Gilliland. “We have really competitive cars and a lot of talented drivers lined up for next year, so I’m excited to see what we can do together. I’ve watched Natalie develop over the last season in an ARCA car. It’ll be fun putting her in our equipment and watching her progress to the Truck Series.”
Decker joins an impressive list of drivers that have taken part in DGR-CROSLEY’s Driver Development program. 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Tyler Ankrum, and runner-up Tyler Dippel both drove for the organization.