Natalie Sather knows she’s not Danica Patrick.
Yet, the spunky, first-year World of Outlaws driver doesn’t mind looking up to the Indy Racing League’s female star.
“What girls are doing today is awesome,” said Sather, a Dilwor th-Glyndon-Felton High School graduate. “It might prove some people wrong.”
Sather, 20, is the only female running with the Outlaws this weekend during the Duel in the Dakotas at Red Valley Speedway.
Erin Crocker ran in last year’s Duel, but is currently attempting to work her way into NASCAR’s Busch Series.
“What she did in sprint cars is phenomenal,” Sather said. “I hope I can do what she did.”
Sather has struggled adjusting to the faster motors of the 410 sprints, which she began running this year while still competing in the 360 sprints.
Sather spun out during the warmup laps of her Outlaws heat and tipped on her left side during the second lap of the 360 feature. She was uninjured.
Sather ranks 33rd in the World of Outlaws point standings with a season-best finish of 21st at the Batesville (Ark.) Speedway.
“I’m learning,” Sather said.
Despite toiling in the back of the pack most nights, Sather still holds her head high. She expects returning to her home area this weekend might help.
“I’m so glad to come home,” Sather said.
Sather said she’ll be racing with a purpose this weekend. Ashley Leabo, Sather’s cousin and one of her biggest supporters, died in a car accident early Thursday morning in Grand Forks, N.D.
“It’s been a tough week for my family,” Sather said. “She was telling everyone I was going to win.”