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Northwoods Spotlight - Decker gets opportunity with NASCAR program - June 11Submitted: 06/11/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas


EAGLE RIVER - Claire Decker loves being out at the track.

"Just the noise of the car gets me going, Decker points out. "That's what I love the most."

She's been racing since she was four years old... and all her hard work is starting to pay off. Claire was selected as a finalist in the Peak Stock Car Challenge.

"I couldn't believe it," Claire explains. "I was like oh my gosh, I don't even know what to say. Who am I going to call next? I knew everyone was going to be so excited."


"It's a great opportunity for Claire," Allen Decker - Claire's dad adds. "I'm happy to see her go and I'm excited to see how she does with those boys."

The racers will compete in Charlotte for three days under the guidance of pros like Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick. Waltrip notified all the finalists himself.

Claire was very emotional when she got the phone call.

"I just started crying and he was like, Oh! He didn't really know what to say."

18 racers qualified for the Peak Challenge. Claire's the only one from Wisconsin, and one of only three female drivers.

"I was looking at the other drivers wrap sheets and seeing they won this series and that series," Claire said. "The best I can do is go down there and try my best."

If Decker wins the challenge, she'd receive a sponsorship to drive in a K&N pro race. K&N is the highest level of NASCAR's developmental race series.

"It would definitely mean the world to me," Claire said. "That's anything anybody wants. To be down in North Carolina and doing what you love to do."


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CRANDON - Pounding rain, howling winds, and flashing lightning�"not the most ideal conditions for camping on Saturday night.

In fact, Saturday night's bad weather couldn't have picked a worse time for thousands of people to set up camp at the Crandon Race Track.

"We were holding onto the awning last night," said Keegan Kincaid, a racer from Crandon. ."It was pouring."

"Our canopy [got] rained [on] so much we had to keep pushing it up so it wouldn't collapse," said Paul Posbrig, a fan from Green Bay.

"It was coming in all over," said Jessie Braden, a fan from Richfield.

But for Crandon fans, the rain certainly didn't dampen the weekend.

"But we made the best of it," said Braden, who comes to Crandon every summer for the Brush Run.

"We had a canopy at one point and put up tarps on the walls as we got downpoured on and it was all windy," Braden said. "If we're going camping, it's going to rain!"

The fans also got their fair share of noise because the rain didn't really affect the race schedule.

"We just had to wait a little bit longer before we could put crews out on the track," said the raceway's announcer, Dave Mullins. "So needed it to dry off a little bit first. But really it was only about a half hour."

But it certainly changed the racers' strategy.

"And so you'll see a lot of changes in trucks and driving styles," Kincaid said.
"Figure out the track, sort out where the grip is, where it's wet, where it's dry," said Arie Luyendyk, Jr., a racer from Arizona.

But Crandon's track is pretty resilient.

"Most tracks we wouldn't be able to race on it the next day, but Crandon has a lot of clay," Kincaid said.

"Because this is a clay track, it doesn't absorb the water as much, it makes it more like a mud pit," Mullins said.

Sunday's nice weather quickly brought the track's conditions back to normal.

"I thought we were going to be racing in the mud, but turns out because of the sun and wind we're actually going back to our setup we had yesterday," Luyendyk, Jr., said. 

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Several different agencies responded, including Canadian National Railroad investigators.

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"Oh yeah, he likes to show them off," David's son Dan said.

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"I wouldn't call it a shock, but I didn't know he had that artistic skill," Dan Appel said.

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