Longtime family friend Tony Ave offers Decker road course experience at Sebring

Longtime family friend Tony Ave offers Decker road course experience at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2018) -- Coming up on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, 20-year-old rookie Natalie Decker traveled to the sunshine state for some early fun in the sun.

Trading the beach for a race car, Decker, of Eagle River, Wis., found her way into the seat of an ultra-cool LMP3 sports car for two-day test at Sebring Int'l Raceway.  

"What an incredible honor to drive this car…it's amazing. It's like nothing I've ever driven before," said Decker.

"It's always fun to try new things. I'm in no way considered a road course racer but having the opportunity to gain more experience was really special."

The LMP3 comes out of the garage of longtime Decker family friend and Wisconsin native Tony Ave.

Ave, an accomplished road racer and former ARCA Racing Series driver explained the pairing with Decker.

"Our families go way back," said Ave. "My dad raced snowmobiles with Natalie's grandfather and I raced with her dad (Chuck). After watching Natalie's impressive ARCA performance at Road America last year I wanted her to drive the car. It's something we always thought would be fun to do. She did a great job," added Ave who is widely recognized for his innovation and success in the sports car world.  

"I'm excited to watch Natalie's career evolve and look forward to watching her in the ARCA Series this year. She's with a great group in the series. Venturini Motorsports has a long history of developing championship caliber drivers working their way up the ranks of stock car racing. I'll be watching and pulling for her all season.

"One of the best memories from my ARCA career was battling Billy Venturini and Paul Menard for the win at Talladega in 2003. Menard pulled it off and Venturini edged me for second-place. Heck of a race. I had a chance to win that one," Ave said with a smile.

Decker, running the full 2018 ARCA schedule with Venturini Motorsports (VMS), will begin her bid with VMS in the team's No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota Camry at Daytona. The race, Decker's debut at Daytona, will air live on FS1 Saturday, Feb. 10 at 4:30 p.m. EST.


Ms. Decker turned very good times at Daytona testing. That bodes well for her for a good finish in the 200.

Best of Luck!

Julie L.

Go Natalie!  You will be in NASCAR premier racing before you know it!


Getting Road Course experince in a diffrent series will help you and prepare you throughing the season and seat time helps!

Darin A.

Glad to see Natalie add sports cars in the mix besides stock cars and snowmobiles. Keep up the good work Natalie! :)

Marty M.

Great Article , fun watching it on face book live, ready to watch the Daytona race on February 10th.