Recently I was able to get some time with Natalie Decker to talk about her season in 2019, to talk about her move to Niece Motorsports, and what that means to her racing career going forward. As you read this interview I think that you will see that there is more to this young racer than meets the eye.
Working On My Redneck: It has been a year since we last spoke, the March Las Vegas race in 2019. Looking back on the 2019 race season, how would you rate your 2019 season?
Natalie Decker: First off, there was so many ups and downs. But I really did learn so much from last year. This year I have come out more mentally strong. I have learned how to control the things that i can control, to control my mental thoughts. I have also learned from last year to only worry about the things that I can control. I wish that I could take back a few races and do them over again. Now going into this year I do believe that last year has made me a lot stronger.
Working On My Redneck: Was it the pressure of performing? Was that one of the things that was difficult to manage?
Natalie Decker: The biggest thing for me was that it was all mental. Last year I was focusing more on the stuff that I can’t control. If I got caught up in a wreck that wasn’t my fault, or I blew a motor, all those things would play on my mind. I would focus on that, instead of bringing my best self to the race track each week. So that was probably the biggest thing that I had to work on.
WOMR: How did this deal with Niece Motorsports come together for you?
ND: Well, we knew that we had the sponsorship to do about 8-10 races for 2020. We looked around the series and really liked what we saw at Niece Motorsports. It seems like everybody loves their job and are passionate about racing there. It just seemed to fit and I felt right at home there. I just really like that philosophy a lot.
All that came into play at Daytona. We had a really good finish there (Decker got a 5th place finish at Daytona). Having that good of a finish right off the bat has really helped in jelling with this team, and the communication and bond with my crew chief is really good. Now going forward that 5th place finish at Daytona has cemented the relationship.
WOMR: Are you just going to have 8-10 races with Niece Motorsports this year?
ND: We are currently on the schedule for nine races, so far. But we are constantly looking for more sponsorship and we would love to add more races.
WOMR: Was this trip to Daytona your first trip there?
ND: No I was there last year but caught on fire really early in the race!
WOMR: So Natalie since you didn’t catch on fire this year at Daytona, and you logged a 5th place finish there, how would you rate that race?
ND: I was so happy the whole race. But it was so hard just to stay in line. I am a racer, I want to race! But that in that race you really have to trust your spotter, as well as your crew chief and his strategy for the race, and I did. The last two laps got really racy and really fun. So it was all worth it!
WOMR: From your vantage point could you see how the last 1/4 mile of the race ended? It sure looked like Jordan Anderson was going to beat Grant Enfinger.
ND: Yes, I was very excited and I, too, thought that Jordan was going to win…..or I thought that maybe they were both going to wreck and I could win the race! It was a great finish to that race!
WOMR: Earlier you talked about learning to worry only about things that you could control. Was that the biggest lesson that you learned last year?
ND: Yes 100%. Last year taught me that good lesson, and I worked on that all summer. I feel that applying what I learned last year will make me a better race car driver, athlete, and it will even make me better at home as a girlfriend, as a daughter, and as a friend. It will benefit me all around in all of my whole life! If you are always worrying about things that you can’t control, then that will limit your ability to perform. It was really pretty painful last year, but I am very grateful that it happened that way because I really learned a lot.
WOMR: What is the one thing that if your friends, boyfriend, etc, found out about you would surprise the heck out of them?
ND: I did musicals! In one musical I did Dolly Parton. But I can’t sing so I had to lip sync the songs. It was really fun. I did plays growing up my whole life.
WOMR: Well, they all know know and your friends are going to love that! Natalie, what will it take for you to consider this year to be successful?
ND: Being the best I can be going into the race weekend. To be the best that I can be, no matter what the situation that I get into. Too be the best and continue to keep learning from those situations. If I learn form those situations, if am don’t worry about things that I can’t control, if I don’t worry about the outcome, because I can’t control the outcome, if I just being my best each week to the race track, then I can have a more successful year this year! As long as I can keep doing all those things this year I will be happy with myself.
WOMR: What are your interests away from the track?
ND: I love going to the bike dirt track with my boyfriend. Hopefully, we are planning on going to the Super Cross race on March 7th in Daytona. I am a big fan of Aaron Plessinger and I really want to meet him there. I love golfing and I love hanging out with my family as well. I also really enjoy playing with my dog, as well as going to the gym. I have a really great trainer and go to the gym almost everyday. To me it is like therapy doing that.
WOMR: Are you a football fan?
ND: No, but I love the Packers!
WOMR: So would you consider yourself a “Cheese Head”?
ND: Oh yes I am.
WOMR: Have you met Aaron Rodgers?
ND: No. I really wan to to meet Aaron Plessinger!
WOMR: You should be able to do that. After all, you are Natalie Decker! (There was much laughter and a slightly embarrassed red face that appeared on Natalie’s face after my comment.)
With that I concluded the interview with Ms. Decker. I hope that you could see that, even though Natalie is a race car driver in the NASCAR Truck Series, she is a very down to earth 22 year old young lady that really isn’t much different that any other 22 year old, save the fact that she races cars and trucks on a weekly basis.
I also hope that you will see that Natalie is a driven young woman, and that she is determined to succeed in this mainly male dominated sport. Additionally, I hope that you have gotten a look inside the exterior of this race car driver and gotten a good look at really what makes her tick.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!