ARCA SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series

Natalie Decker joins Emerling-Gase for limited ARCA, Xfinity slate

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Credit: Emerling-Gase Motorsports

Emerling-Gase Motorsports has signed Natalie Decker to compete in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and ARCA Menards Series on part-time bases in 2023. She will pilot the #53 Ford Fusion in the ARCA season opener at Daytona International Speedway on 18 February, while her Xfinity slate was not immediately revealed.

Decker ran the full 2018 ARCA season for Venturini Motorsports and finished seventh in points, which was highlighted by her winning the pole and finishing fifth at Daytona. This was backed up by a sixth in the following year’s race, and she eventually became the first female driver to score a top five in NASCAR Truck Series when she was fifth in the 2020 Daytona opener. The ARCA start will be her first since 2020 when she crashed out at Daytona for Ken Schrader Racing.

She began competing in the Xfinity Series in 2021. In eight career starts, her best finish is twenty-fourth at Talladega in 2021. Decker attempted five races in 2022, failing to qualify at Daytona and Talladega but making the others with a highest run of twenty-seventh at Atlanta. Ironically, her entry at the second Daytona race was abandoned due to a hold-up by NASCAR with her sponsor and she was replaced by EGM co-owner Patrick Emerling.

“Natalie is a great addition to our team,” said Emerling. “I remember back when she was a teenager competing in her super late (model) at New Smyrna Speedweeks and I was racing Modifieds; she showed great talent. Needless to say, that’s why she’s here in our ARCA car at Daytona and a part of our NASCAR Xfinity Series team.”

During the offseason, Decker has mostly focused on online streaming. In January, she became a member of the HER Galaxy esports organisation and the adjacent Galaxy Racer team.

EGM, co-owned by Emerling and Joey Gase, débuted in 2022 with multiple drivers in the #35 and #53 with the former being their full-time car while the latter ran just Daytona and Talladega with Gase and Shane Lee. The #53, split between the two owners and Lee, Dawson Cram, Chris Dyson, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Parker Kligerman, and Brad Pérez, finished thirtieth in owner points with a best finish of twelfth by Kligerman at COTA. Both the #35 and #53 will run the full slate in 2023 with C.J. McLaughlin and Pérez among the drivers.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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