By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
Natalie Decker announced her racing schedule for the 2017 season on Wednesday, and it includes making her ARCA Racing Series debut with Venturini Motorsports. Decker will compete in three races behind the wheel of one of the team’s Toyotas, starting at Toledo Speedway on May 21. The 19-year-old driver will get a chance to settle in with the team, competing in three consecutive races with Elko Speedway and Pocono Raceway rounding out the trio of events.
“This is definitely the biggest step in my racing career so far,” said Decker. “Racing takes sponsorship support, and it takes hearing a lot of No’s before you find a Yes. I’m so blessed and thankful to ‘N Twenty-Nine Capital Partners’ (N|29) for believing in me and providing this opportunity to compete with Venturini Motorsports.
“Signing with Venturini Motorsports gives me a great opportunity to showcase my talent on a national level. Billy (Venturini) and his team have a strong reputation and proven track record – aligning myself with a group of this caliber was important to me and my sponsors. Now, the rest is up to me to perform at the high level I know I’m capable of.”
In addition to the three races with the Venturini organization, Decker will compete full-time in the ARCA Midwest Tour in her Toyota Super Late Model as a ‘Touring Star.” The Eagle River, Wisc. native will also compete at local tracks like State Park Speedway, Golden Sands Speedway and Marshfield Motor Speedway in addition to select other events. Decker’s 2017 schedule will begin on April 9 in the Ice Breaker 100 at Dells Raceway Park and end in October at the same track in the Falloween 150.
“We now own our own car and I am super excited,” Decker said of her late model operation. “Our shop is based out of Eagle River, right next to our house, so we no longer have to travel far to be a part of the shop environment. I am also super excited about my new crew chief, Kyle Wolosek, and look forward to winning many races with him on board.”
Decker’s racing career began in go-karts before moving up to stock cars at 12-years-old. Decker’s accolades since then have included the Central Wisconsin Super Stock Association championship, the ARCA SCAG Midwest Truck Tour Rookie of the Year and the limited late model championship at State Park Speedway.
In 2015, Decker was selected as a member of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program and earned four Super Late Model victories with her family-operated team.
Last season, Decker earned four feature wins, including at State Park Speedway over 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion and fellow Wisconsin native, Johnny Sauter.