Eagle River native Natalie Decker toughed out a fifth-place finish Saturday in an ARCA race where she sat on the pole, suffered damage on a restart when she got into the back of another car and then maneuvered her way through several violent crashes at Daytona International Speedway.
A rookie in ARCA, the 20-year-old Decker won the pole for the Lucas Oil 200 with a speed of 181.859 mph in the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports N29 Capital Partners Toyota.
The race, which took nearly three hours, was won by Michael Self, a Venturini Motorsports teammate of Decker’s. Despite the wrecks, there were no serious injuries.
The fourth woman to win the pole at Daytona, Decker was 10th at the time of the first race stoppage and fourth on the final restart with one lap remaining. But the outside lane is not the preferred position, and she ended up fifth.
In addition to Decker, Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole in 2013, Erin Crocker took the Lucas Oil 200 pole in 2007 and Patty Moise won poles in the race in 1989-90.