Sunday, June 19, 2016

TRUCKS: Claire Decker picks up Cobb team’s fourth last-place finish in five Iowa races

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Claire Decker picked up the 1st last-place finish of her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Speediatrics 200 at the Iowa Speedway when her #10 Grimes Irrigation & Construction Chevrolet fell out with fuel pump issues after she completed 5 of 200 laps.  The finish came in Decker’s 2nd series start.

The 19-year-old Claire, her older sister Paige, and her younger cousin Natalie participated in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program in 2014 and 2015.  The Decker family has a history in snowmobile racing and are now branching out into stock car racing with their own family-run effort.  Claire, who runs the #01 on the short tracks, got her start in Super Stocks and Super Late Models.

This year, Claire and Paige have already broken into NASCAR’s top three ranks.  All three attempted the spring race at Martinsville this past April.  In qualifying, driving Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #10 Chevrolet, Claire came less than one-tenth of a second of besting Paige’s ride, the #74 RAM owned by Mike Harmon.  Natalie missed the show in Mark Beaver’s #14.  Both Paige and Claire were involved in separate spins that drew cautions, but both finished the race under power: Paige finished the race 25th, nine laps down.  Claire was 27th, twelve behind.

Last weekend at Iowa saw Paige and Claire back at the track to make their XFINITY Series debuts, running team cars for Obaika Racing.  Claire’s newly-renumbered #77 Vroom! Brands Chevrolet missed the show while Paige came home 31st after starting last in the flagship #97.  Unlike her big sister, Claire was running double-duty in the Truck Series race, again for Jennifer Jo Cobb.  The arrangement, made official on Friday, put Decker in the #10 while Cobb this time ran the #1 for MAKE Motorsports.  Cobb is the seventh different driver to drive the #1 this season.

Claire secured the 32nd and final starting spot in qualifying despite running the slowest lap in time trials: just 119.804mph to polesitter John Hunter Nemechek’s 136.087.  She had also struggled to find speed during her lone practice appearance in Happy Hour, where her best lap after 19 circuits was 120.069.  Still, she was able to bump from the field Donnie Levister, whose Faith Motorsports entry was still unable to make the show after his new technical alliance with Mike Harmon.  Norm Benning, still fighting to make his first Truck start of the year and first since Texas last November, withdrew from the event along with Ryan Truex in the Hattori Racing Toyota.  Truex is expected to run next Saturday in Gateway, but there are no reports yet about when Benning will run between now and Eldora.

Claire Decker pulled behind the wall after five laps under green-flag conditions.  The next retirement didn’t come until Lap 43, when Parker Kligerman’s #92 Technet Professional / Valvoline / BTS Tire Ford crashed in Turn 3.  Kligerman, who began the year with three consecutive finishes of 8th or better, is now reported to be scaling back to a part-time effort.  Tommy Joe Martins, who wrote an excellent mission statement earlier in the week, endured another difficult weekend when he tangled with Derek Scott, Jr. late in the race.  The evening’s low attrition dropped him back to 30th, his fifth-straight finish of 24th or worse.  Rounding out the Bottom Five were Kaz Grala, whose run in GMS Racing’s #24 began with a 4th-place qualifying run and ended with a mid-race wreck, and Cobb in the MAKE #1.

*This was the first last-place finish for the #10 since Cobb’s run last October at Talladega, and the first for Cobb’s team since Caleb Roark’s run at Texas two rounds later.
*Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing has now finished last in four of the last five Truck Series races at Iowa: two with Chris Lafferty, one with Caleb Roark, and this one with Decker.

32) #10-Claire Decker / 5 laps / fuel pump
31) #92-Parker Kligerman / 41 laps / crash
30) #44-Tommy Joe Martins / 173 laps / crash
29) #24-Kaz Grala / 189 laps / running
28) #1-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 191 laps / running

1st) Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) Christopher Bell, William Byron, Claire Decker, Johnny Sauter, Austin Wayne Self, Andy Seuss (1)

1st) Kyle Busch Motorsports, Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) AWS Racing, GMS Racing, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Jim Rosenblum Motorsports / FDNY Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (5)
2nd) Toyota (3)

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