TOLEDO, Ohio – With the Music City 200 ARCA race at Nashville front and center, Natalie Decker knows that Salem is right around the corner. Maybe that’s why she's training nearly every day to prepare herself for the full ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season ahead.
"I've been working out nearly every day," said Decker. "I've been training with Wendy Venturini three days a week. She kicks my butt."
Decker drives the No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota for Venturini Motorsports. She won the General Tire Pole in the season-opener at Daytona and finished a career-best 5th. Wendy is the daughter of team owners Bill and Cathy Venturini.
"When I'm not training with Wendy, I do my own thing…a combination of ballet and yoga. Arms, legs, back…it's quite a workout."
Decker is also scheduled to test at Nashville this Friday, March 30 in preparation for the Music City 200 coming to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville Saturday, April 7. Then, all eyes toward Salem for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 Sunday, April 22. The Salem ARCA race will be a bit of a homecoming for the Eagle River, Wis. driver.
"I've never raced there, but Salem was my first ARCA race I went to watch. I got a little nervous watching…the place looked crazy. I had just signed with Venturini Motorsports last spring. I got to sit on one of the pit boxes for the race. Watching the race helped, but what really helped was being able to put on the radio and listen to the spotters and crew chiefs…that's what really helped."
Decker recently moved to Charlotte to be closer to the race shop.
"I love it here. I'm so happy I moved here. Now I get to go to the shop almost every day. It's so much better being here rather than flying in every week. It's very helpful…getting fitted in the cars, seat inserts, seat belts…it makes a big difference."
You can keep track of Natalie Decker on her YouTube Channel where she is posting news things regularly.
Past ARCA Racing Series winners at Salem include NASCAR Cup champions Bobby Allison and Benny Parsons, 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner Troy Ruttman, six-time ARCA champion Iggy Katona, Ken Schrader, 10-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel (9-time Salem winner), and three-time series champions Jack Bowsher and Tim Steele. NASCAR drivers Justin Allgaier, Brian Keselowski, Chris Buescher and Brennan Poole have also visited victory lane in ARCA competition at Salem. Christopher Bell swept both ARCA races at Salem in 2016. 2017 ARCA national champion Austin Theriault is the most recent Salem winner.
The Salem race also marks round 2 for the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge, one of 11 short track events in 2018 that make up ARCA's Short Track championship.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 will spread out over two days, Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22. Practice is Saturday afternoon from 12 noon to 1:30, with General Tire Pole Qualifying following at 4. Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 raceday festivities get underway Sunday morning with an on-track driver autograph session at 11:30, followed by the Great American Stock feature event at 1. Pre-race ceremonies, ARCA driver introductions and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 follow. The ARCA race is scheduled to get the green flag at 2:15 Sunday afternoon.
For ticket info, visit SalemSpeedway.com
- ARCA Racing Press Release
- Speed51.com Photo