Sunday, June 23, 2024

Derek Lemke to make NASCAR debut at Richmond

Derek Lemke will make his NASCAR début in the Craftsman Truck Series at Richmond Raceway on Saturday, driving the #33 Ford F-150 for Reaume Brothers Racing.

Lemke was a regular in late models in the Midwestern United States, being named the NASCAR Minnesota Rookie of the Year in 2013 and doing a one-off in the CARS Late Model Tour. Due to a lack of funding, he scaled back his driving duties but remained in the sport as a public relations and marketing manager.

He currently serves in such a position for Natalie Decker, to whom he is currently engaged. In 2021, Decker opened a super late model team with Lemke as driver.

Decker has raced for RBR in the Xfinity and Truck Series, though she failed to qualify in her lone attempt with them in the Trucks at the 2022 Talladega race. The effort was facilitated with Lemke as the liaison between Decker and RBR.

“I’ve spent time with the team at the track racing with Natalie and I’m glad I get to make my first NASCAR experience as a driver with RBR,” said Lemke. “Going into this with no expectations but to just enjoy this time because you never know if you get another chance like this.”

The #33 is thirty-sixth in owner points. Mason Massey began the season as its full-time driver before departing after the first seven races, with Mason Maggio, team owner Josh Reaume, and Chase Janes eventually making starts. Massey holds its best finish of eleventh at Texas.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Natalie as a driver before and enjoyed having Derek be a liaison for business and public relations between our team and Natalie’s team,” Reaume commented. “Not only is he talented from the business perspective, he has just as much talent behind the wheel. His numerous wins and accolades in late model racing speak to his ability to control and feel a full-bodied stock car, and we’re very excited to see how well that translates to the truck. We’re honored to be able to continue our tradition of showcasing new talent in NASCAR, and Derek is a talent that many should start to recognise.”