In late August, Natalie Decker was scheduled to run the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona for Emerling-Gase Motorsports before abandoning the entry as NASCAR had not approved her sponsor Diesel Beverages, which sells drinks made from terpene. Now that NASCAR has formally signed off on the sponsorship, Decker has entered another superspeedway race as she joins Reaume Brothers Racing for the Camping World Truck Series event at Talladega Superspeedway on 1 October. She will pilot the #43.
Decker last raced in the Truck Series in 2020 when she made thirteen starts for Niece Motorsports, the first of which saw her score the first top five for a woman when she placed fifth at Daytona. She first entered the series in 2016 at Martinsville but failed to qualify, then focused on the ARCA Menards Series over the next two years before returning with a ninteen-race 2019 schedule with now-David Gilliland Racing. She finished sixteenth in her Talladega Truck debut that year.
She ran the Talladega ARCA race in 2018 and 2019, respectively finishing twenty-eighth and twenty-third.
While Decker has never raced for RBR’s Truck programme, she drove for the Xfinity Series arm in 2021 at the Daytona Road Course. Said stable was absorbed by Our Motorsports later in the season and she contested four races with her new team. Decker has attempted five Xfinity races in 2022 with RBR, RSS Racing, and MBM Motorsports, failing to qualify at Daytona and Talladega while recording a best run of twenty-seventh at Atlanta.
“We have been working with Natalie for awhile now, and we are all really excited to have her drive our #43 truck at Talladega,” said team owner Josh Reaume. “She brings a lot of great energy to the track and shop, which is very contagious, and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity when she returns to the Truck Series come October. I am very confident in Natalie that she will do an awesome job at Talladega.”
Much of the delay in NASCAR’s approval of Diesel stems from the company’s carbonated water being flavoured with terpene derived from hemp, though Diesel stresses cannabinoids are not present in the drinks. Nevertheless, the green light continues an increasing trend of the sanctioning body allowing cannabis-related sponsorships, most notably with Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick having hemp product company 3CHI as a primary backer.
“I am extremely excited to be back in the Truck Series, especially with RBR,” commented Decker. “I love working with Josh and the whole team, I always enjoy being at the shop and going to the track with them. It’s been over two years since I’ve been in the truck and I can’t wait to hit the track at Talladega.
“Diesel Beverages partnership means a lot to me, being born with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and living with a chronic illness, it’s so important to put your health first. Diesel water has helped me recover faster from workouts and as well as long workdays. With Diesel Beverages on board we have an awesome opportunity to share with the NASCAR fans their revolutionary water and my ‘Thirst for more racing’ is totally being fulfilled by Diesel Water’s partnership.”
Team-mate to the #33, RBR’s #43 has been split between multiple drivers in 2022 besides Decker and Reaume: Jesse Iwuji, Nick Leitz, Blake Lothian, Mason Maggio, Stephen Mallozzi, Keith McGee, Thad Moffitt (in alliance with GMS Racing), Akinori Ogata, Brad Pérez, Devon Rouse, and Armani Williams. The truck is currently thirty-sixth in owner points with Moffitt holding its best finish of eighteenth at Daytona, while Pérez’s twentieth at COTA is the best as a standalone operation.