DAYTONA BEACH — As Natalie Decker backed out of her garage space behind the wheel of the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota, somebody said “There goes 5-feet of lighting.”

When the day was over, she corrected the observation.

“I’m 5-foot-1 — almost,” she said with a laugh.

ARCA wrapped up a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in preparation for the Feb. 10 Lucas Oil 200, which will kick off the [...]

DAYTONA BEACH — As Natalie Decker backed out of her garage space behind the wheel of the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota, somebody said “There goes 5-feet of lighting.”

When the day was over, she corrected the observation.

“I’m 5-foot-1 — almost,” she said with a laugh.

ARCA wrapped up a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in preparation for the Feb. 10 Lucas Oil 200, which will kick off the stock-car Speedweeks program.

Racing since she was a 9-year-old kid, Decker hopes to showcase her skills behind the wheel of a stock car and get noticed by somebody in the NASCAR garage.

“My goal has always been to race at the NASCAR Cup Series,” she said. “I’ll get there someday; someday soon, hopefully.”

The 20-year-old driver from Eagle River, Wisconsin, will run the full ARCA schedule thanks to Carl Ruedebusch, who manages N/29 Capital Partners in nearby Madison.

Ruedebusch is funding Decker because he believes she has the potential and mindset to win at this level and move up the ladder in the sport.

“She is coachable, she’s fast and we think she’s going to be a great race driver,” Ruedebusch said.

Ruedebusch placed her with Venturini Motorsports, because that team is like the Joe Gibbs Racing of ARCA. It is a fully resourced operation with a lot of mechanical know-how.

“They are one of the best teams in ARCA,” Decker said. “What makes it super cool is the fact it is a family-based team. That’s why I love racing with them.”

Cathy Venturini is listed as the owner of the No. 25 Toyota.

“I think she is very good,” Venturini said. “We took her to several tracks last year and she adapted quickly. I’m looking forward to working with her this year.”

Decker made seven ARCA starts with Venturini in 2017 and posted a pair of top-10 finishes. In five of those starts, which included short tracks, superspeedways and a road-course race, she finished no lower than 12th.

“From what I saw her do at Pocono last year, at a Talladega test in November and what I’ve seen (this weekend), I don’t think there is any question she can drive the superspeedways,” Ruedebusch said.

“Carl and N/29 Capital Partners are the best things to happen to me in racing,” Decker said. “He supports me so much.”

Decker continued to run a family-owned Late Model as she tried her hand at ARCA racing in 2017. This time around, she will concentrate on the national series.

She took her first laps at Daytona on Friday, but was undaunted the by size and scope of the 2.5-mile tri-oval course.

She credits that to running laps at Talladega and to her team making her comfortable in the car.

“They paired me with crew chief David Leiner last year and I have him back this year,” Decker said. “He is such a good teacher and so good to work with.”

You might not recognize the name, but Decker carries a lot of weight in snowmobile racing. Decker’s family will host the 55th Country Cat Championship Snowmobile Derby next weekend.

Known as the “Indianapolis 500 of Snowmobile Racing,” the Derby attracts more than 40,000 spectators annually.

Fans travel from all over the world to watch more than 500 international drivers race their high-tech snowmobiles at speeds in excess of 100 mph on a solid ice oval.

“It’s a really big thing,” Decker said. “I don’t race snowmobiles, but I work with my family and help run the event.”