Driver joins elite company by qualifying on the pole for Daytona


Only four woman in history had qualified in pole position in ARCA history. 20 year old Natalie Decker became the fifth. Her qualifying speed for the ARCA season opening race at Daytona, 181.859 mph, was good enough for her to join Patty Moise, Shawna Robinson, Erin Crocker and Milka Duno on that short list, according to

She edged out the second place qualifier, Zane Smith by only .004 mph.

"It was crazy," said Decker. "My spotter (Eddie D'Hondt) was on me the whole time but that's OK because I told him I like him to talk a lot. He was just walking me through the whole thing. I didn't have any idea what I was doing."

That's some great driving for someone who had no idea what they were doing.


Decker joined NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program in 2015, and has been racing stock cars since she was 12. It is her first full time season in ARCA, but she ran seven races for Venturini Motorsports in the series last year. Until Daytona, her best start was eighth at Elko Speedway and if she can translate qualifying success to the race, she could also improve on her career-best seventh place finish at Road America.

Those seven races gave Decker the experience needed to kick off a season she hopes will end with some hardware. A goal she made clear when she said, "I learned a lot last year in those seven races in preparation to run for rookie of the year and so far it's a great start."

The ARCA race will be ran Saturday.

Related: NASCAR's rising female star gets excellent news as the 2018 season approaches