NASCAR’s female Truck Series star Natalie Decker is not medically cleared to return to the racetrack yet. As a result, she will not feature in Saturday’s NASCAR truck race at Talladega Superspeedway. Decker withdrew moments before last weekend’s race at Las Vegas as the authorities did not clear her for the race.
As a result of this weekend’s withdrawal, Kaz Grala replaced Decker in the No. 44 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports. No further details have been announced yet about Decker’s health.
At Vegas, she was taken to the infield medical center after her car was pushed back to the garage. Decker was cleared to leave from there but was not fit to participate in the race. The officials credited her with a last-place finish as her car was technically cleared to run the race.
A couple of days after the race, Decker tweeted about her health situation. She said that more tests were needed to accurately understand her condition and she was in the process of carrying out those tests.
Niece Motorsports General Manager Cody Efaw said in a statement that Decker is working on her health to return to the track soon.
“We are thankful that Kaz is able to fill in for Natalie this weekend and appreciate him working with our team. We wish Natalie the best as she works to be as healthy as possible to return to racing,” Efaw said.
Grala said Decker loves restrictor-plate races, which the Talladega race will be. At the same time, he hopes to run a good race and give her something to be glad about.
“My thoughts will be with Natalie this weekend as I wish her a quick recovery. I know she loves the restrictor-plate races. So I feel bad that she’ll have to miss this one, but I hope I can give her something to cheer for on Saturday,” Grala said.
23-year-old Decker already has a bit of NASCAR history to her name. Her fifth-place finish at Daytona is the highest finish by a female driver in the Truck Series.