DECKER TRADES SNOW FOR STOCK CAR
Topics: Paige Decker
Mid American Stock Car Series
July 13, 2010
FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (July 13, 2010) – The Decker name is well known to fans who watch sleds skid across the white stuff in Eagle River, Wis. Fans of the pavement will soon take notice as Paige Decker becomes more comfortable with her Mid-American Stock Car Series racer.
The 17-year-old Eagle River, Wis., native is in her second season of stock car action and is scheduled to compete in the majority of MASCS events in 2010.
Her career began at the age of three racing in a snowmobile division known as Kitty Kats. No surprise considering her family’s reputation on the powder. Her father Allen and uncle Chuck made the Decker name famous by racing sleds. The Decker family also owns the Eagle River Derby Track, home of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby.
After nearly a dozen years of racing snowmobiles Decker enrolled in summer sessions, racing go-karts at Shawano Speedway. At the age of 15 Decker set several fast times, was named rookie of the year and won the championship. Her love of the karts hasn’t stopped as she still races on regional and national levels.
However, Decker’s career took a turn while sitting in the stands in Plover, Wis.. “I was at Golden Sands as a spectator and decided to compete in the amateur powder puff race,” she said. “I started dead last and ended up first; my love for stock cars began then.”
That dominance in her powder puff race lit a spark in her family. She said one day her uncle surprised her with a stock car, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Decker made her first ever appearance in the season opening event of 2009 at Golden Sands Speedway. Her night came to a premature end as two racers spun in front of her and she was unable to avoid the pileup.
As of now, Decker is happy getting laps in MASCS events and racing super stocks on the off weekends. The adjustment, she said, was hard, but is starting to ease.
“The biggest challenge was from going from racing with all kids my own age to running with people at average 20 years older, and having much more experience with stock cars,” she said. “I know where I am today with stock cars is all because of experience I gained from kart racing. After having the chance to race karts, I feel that if you can be a good kart racer you can race anything.”
One of those older kids Decker has been competing against has also served her as a mentor. Lyle Nowak has helped Decker and her team with setup information, maintenance information and driving style. Nowak said he has seen a great improvement in Decker’s young stock car career.
“The difference from last year to this year is pretty substantial,” said Nowak. “She pays attention. In the short time Marcy and I have had to work with her, we noticed she listens very well and she picks up on stuff. She’s an astute learner and she’s really not afraid to try anything with a racecar.”
A move to stock cars has been heavily supported by Paige’s father Allen. He said he sees Mid-American as a great place to develop the career of Paige, and soon his second-oldest daughter Claire. Young Natalie Decker may be a few years away from the stock car.
“Although the girls had no experience in racing stock cars they were welcomed and accepted by the series and the competitors,” Allen Decker said. “In all my past racing I have never met a nicer group more willing to give a helping hand when needed.”
The schedule and venues were also attractive to the Deckers.
“The Mid-Am schedule gives the girls a chance to race and drive on many different types of tracks throughout the Midwest,” Allen said. “As the girls advance to higher levels of cars they would have already driven many of the tracks so they will know how that track feels in the car.”
One venue where Decker easily could have been intimidated was the four-mile road course of Road America. With speeds reaching in excess of 140 miles per hour, perhaps no one was more nervous than her father.
“Paige’s performance at Elkhart raised my eyes a bit,” Allen said. “I was very nervous about her racing those speeds, but she seemed to adapt well with that type of racing, especially for never racing at Elkhart before on the big track. My first reaction was to not have her race at Elkhart, but now after watching her race this year, I am very excited for next year.”
Paige had an early problem losing oil pressure and falling two laps to the leaders, but after repairs, ran speeds equivalent to those racing for the win. She said she was nowhere near as nervous as her dad.
“To be honest I never got nervous at all the whole race weekend, which is very rare for me,” she said. “I’m excited for next year and I hope I can rub bumpers with (Bill) Prietzel and some of the other top guys at Road America.”
From the Mid-American Stock Car Series, father and daughter share the same future goals.
“I hope soon I can move up to a late model. But I know I need to be patient because all the experiences I learn from racing Mid-Am will help me with the late models,” Paige said. “And yes, my long term goals are definitely NASCAR.”
Allen said he wouldn’t mind seeing that either. “I hope that I can give Paige and Claire what my mom and dad have done for us Decker boys,” he said. "Racing ultimately guided me through life and carved out my career. My dream would be to wake up one day and see the girls climb into race cars at Daytona.”
The Deckers will continue their Mid-American Stock Car Series quest this Friday and Saturday in the MASCS Northern Swing. Norway (Mich.) Speedway and Marshfield (Wis.) Motor Speedway are the two closest venues on the 2010 schedule for Decker. She will make her Norway Speedway debut, and her third appearance at Marshfield.
Norway Speedway is located on the Dickinson County Fairgrounds just off Highway 8 in Norway, Mich. For more information visit www.norwayspeedway.com
Marshfield Motor Speedway is located on County Road H, just west of Highway 13 in Marshfield, Wis. For more information visit www.marshfieldspeedway.com
For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series, including the full 2010 schedule, results, standings and driver information visit www.midamericanracing.com.
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