We’ve all heard the expression, “if you are in it, you can win it.” Although they did not get to victory lane, Natalie Decker, Derek Kraus and Codie Rohrbaugh all scored career-best finishes in the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series career Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
Rohrbaugh competes for his family-owned team and accomplishes so much with few resources. Previously, his best finish was last year at Martinsville Speedway where the No. 9 team finished 10th. Tonight, however, the Petersburg, West Virginia native knew he had a chance to win and he came close to a victory.
When Grant Enfinger and Jordan Anderson were battling at the line, it almost allowed Rohrbaugh the chance to sneak by for the win. But he had to settle for a third-place finish, falling 0.084 seconds short. It was a remarkable rebound after getting turned around coming to pit road on Lap 35.
“It got really exciting,” Rohrbaugh said to MRN Radio. “First off, thank the good Lord for giving me the opportunity. Thanks to all my family, Pat, Grandma, the guys did an incredible job at the shop all winter to get us here. Just really, really thankful.”
The third-place finish was Rohrbaugh’s first of his career.
Stratford, Wisconsin native Derek Kraus also had an interesting night in Daytona beginning as early as Lap 9. Kraus had to come down to pit road while running inside the top-10 after a reported issue with the truck. As it turns out, there was a potential left front tire going down on the No. 19 Toyota. Pitting took the Wisconsin native out of a good stage finish for Stage 1 as he would finish 21st.
As the event went on, Kraus had to rally from the back and avoid some major wrecks late in the going, especially the big one with three to go. When the race went into overtime, the Wisconsin native still had a shot to win but he had his work cut out for him as he did not have any teammates to work with. Even so, Kraus still had a solid day and earned the best finish of his Truck Series career with fourth place.
“Just surviving really,” Kraus said to MRN Radio. “We survived all night and kind of rolled in the back there, and kind of had a strategy going at the end of the race. We executed the strategy and we ended up fourth.”
Momentum means everything to the No. 19 team of Bill McAnally.
“This is a really big start to the season, especially for my No. 19 Shockwave Toyota Tundra,” he added to MRN Radio. “Can’t thank Shockwave enough for coming on-board for this race and I look forward to the rest of the season.”
Kraus’ previous best finish was eighth at Dover last year.
As for Natalie Decker, she earned the best finish by a female driver at Daytona. The feat was last accomplished by Jennifer Jo Cobb who finished sixth in 2011. Decker started 30th and finished fifth to earn the best career finish of her career.
“It’s amazing, I’m so thankful that N29 has been with me since the beginning,” Decker said to MRN Radio. “Thank you, Carl and happy birthday, and I’m just so happy I got to have my best finish here with Niece. I just think that’s so wonderful.”
The run wasn’t all that easy for Decker as she had to dodge some melees throughout the race.
“Yeah, there was a big wreck right in front of us and got some flat tires just to try, and stop from it,” she added to MRN Radio. “We rode around the back and that was our plan. I just had to ride, but it was so worth it, those last two laps being able to race up front there and get a good finish.”