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Natalie Decker Joins Driver Lineup for Inaugural Yamaha R1 DT Invitational Race at Perris Auto Speedway

November 8, 2017
Natalie Decker Joins Driver Lineup for Inaugural Yamaha R1 DT Invitational Race at Perris Auto Speedway


Concord, North Carolina (November 08, 2017) – Fresh off a successful test with Venturini Motorsports at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, Natalie Decker is off to California to compete in this weekend’s first ever Yamaha R1 DT Invitational race at Perris Auto Speedway.

Decker, who will drive the newly unveiled Yamaha R1 DT concept dirt car, will join several top drivers from different racing disciplines such as sprint, late model, stock, motorcycle flat track, drifting, off-road and motorcycle racing as part of the Yamaha’s inaugural R1 DT invitational race taking place in conjunction with the USAC Budweiser Oval Nationals Saturday, November 11 at Perris Auto Speedway.

Decker will be one of eight drivers to race the new Yamaha R1 Dirt Track Concept Car. The 20-year old ARCA Racing Series rookie will join veteran sprint car driver and two-time Chili Bowl Champion Corey Kuseman, X-Games Motorcycle Flat Track Gold Medalist Sammy Halbert, famed dirt late model driver Donnie “Million Dollar” Moran, off road racers CJ Greaves and Dustin Nelson, Ken Gushi, one of the world’s top competitors in drifting and AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes.

Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, first revealed the R1 Dirt Track Concept Car in a Youtube video last fall and most recently on September 13 at Eagle Raceway.

The R1DT concept is a tube chassis, purpose-built race car powered by a fuel-injected inline four-cylinder engine from Yamaha’s R1S production motorcycle. The car is designed to be low maintenance, low cost to the racer with vehicles purchased at Yamaha outlets and transported directly to the race track.

The car is expected to be a valuable training tool for up and coming drivers and an affordable and fun racing machine for more experienced drivers.

Yamaha officials believe that because of the company’s rich history in innovation and diversification, dirt-track racing could be a new opportunity for the manufacturer.

“Yamaha has a long history in racing and engineering at the highest levels all across the world and if we can turn this concept into a reality, we will be committed to investing in and supporting the growth of grassroots racing in America with this project,” said Dave Park, project manager for the Yamaha Dirt Track Car.

While the R1DT is a concept car, Yamaha officials hope make a production version of the R1DT, but only if it meets the high standers of performance, quality and reliability.

The September test date event was held under the supervision of veteran sprint car driver Cory Kruseman, and saw media members, Yamaha officials and other invited guests put the R1DT to the test.

“Considering it is still a prototype, it is pretty awesome,” Kruseman said of the R1DT. “They have a lot of drivability and they have a lot of adjustment to it. I think it is pretty awesome to have somebody as big as Yamaha getting into any sort of car racing versus motorcycles.

“I think it will do a lot for dirt-track racing,” he continued. “…The biggest thing we see at our driving school is age, we get people primarily from 12 to 21 because they are racing on parents’ money. At 21, they go off to school and we usually get them back when they are 45 because they have made some money and they can start playing.

“Two caveats are time and money,” Kruseman continued. “When you have the time you don’t have the money, and when you have the money, you don’t have the time. This car is going to allow the maintenance to drop down. You will have to do very little maintenance. We’ve run more than 400 laps today and we’ve had no issues at all with a prototype car.”

Speed Sport Magazine -September 13, 2017

Interested in watching the USAC Oval Nationals and Yamaha R1 DT Invitational race this weekend, but can't make it out to Perris Auto Speedway? Speed Shift TV has you covered with online Viewing Passes available for purchase.

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