ARCA: Natalie Decker Captures Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire Pole at Daytona

The ARCA Racing Series held General Tire pole qualifying on Friday to set the starting field for Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway. The format involved six groups of drivers and each group had four minutes to post their fastest laps. When completed, Natalie Decker earned the pole for Saturday’s event.

Decker enters her first full-time season in the ARCA Racing Series piloting the No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota with Venturini Motorsports. The driver from Wisconsin posted her time of 49.489, 181.859 mph. in the fourth group of qualifying.

Decker made seven ARCA Racing Series starts in 2017 and earned two top 10 finishes. Her best finish came in race 15 at Road America in the seventh spot. In race 12, at Pocono Raceway, Decker took home her first career top 10 finish with a 10th.

Zane Smith, piloting the No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix Toyota, will start beside Decker. Smith, who qualified in the fourth group of drivers, posted a 49.490, 181.855 mph. and was just 0.001 seconds from tying Decker for the top spot.

The California native had seven top five and 11 top 10 finishes in 2017. Smith, who ran 14 of the 20 ARCA Racing Series events last season, finished the year by earning two poles. He tied his best finish of second three times throughout those events.

Chase Purdy rounded out the top three in qualifying on Friday at Daytona. Purdy, who was also involved in the fourth group of drivers, posted a 49.500, 181.818 mph. to earn the third starting spot.

Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire will mark Purdy’s fourth career start in the series. Last season the Mississippi native scored two finishes inside the top 10.

Bobby Gerhart, an eight-time winner at Daytona International Speedway, will have some work to do on Saturday afternoon. Gerhart sat 29th in qualifying and will take the green flag somewhere around that spot once provisionals are set.

Dave Mader III led the first practice session for the ARCA Racing Series on Thursday at Daytona. Mader III ran in the third group of drivers in qualifying and will start around the 28th position. The Alabama native will make his first start in the series since 1994.

Sean Corr led the way on Friday at Daytona in ARCA Racing Series final practice. Corr, piloting the No. 43 NESCO-Empire Racing Chevrolet, will start the Lucas Oil 200 in the 17th starting position. The driver posted his fastest time in the sixth and final group of drivers.

ARCA Racing Series cars will stay inside the garage area until 4:45 p.m. ET. on Saturday. FOX Sports 1 will carry the live broadcast of the race. will have live scoring and radio coverage of the 200-mile event.

Brett Winningham
Follow Me