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NASCAR BGN Detroit Gasket 200 Preview: #96, Steevie Reeves

13 August 1997

 #96 Stevie Reeves, Big A Auto Parts Ford Thunderbird              
 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division
 Detroit Gasket 200
 Michigan Speedway 
         'Football? Nothing compared to fighting 41 other guys'

BROOKLYN, MI - The Big A Auto Parts Ford team and driver Stevie Reeves head 
to Michigan Speedway this week, hoping to hit the breakthrough race the team 
has been seeking this season. Though solidly in the top 20 of NASCAR's Busch 
Grand National standings, the team has been unable to overcome seemingly 
incredibly poor-timed bad luck.

Twice while running in the top 10 in races this season, Reeves has been hit 
by other cars from behind and has lost time in the garage or pits. Noted for 
his ability to overcome trouble on the track, Reeves has been plagued not so 
much by accidents in front of him but by those behind him. In the series' 
last race, two weeks ago at St. Louis, Reeves had picked up five positions on 
the track in the first seven laps before being hit from behind in the second 
turn while avoiding a crash in front of him, and ending the day in the wall.

Reeves, 29, is a two-time national USAC champion and a native of Speedway, 
Ind. He grew up literally within the shadow of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 
three blocks away at birth only to move to within a block a few years later. 
He now resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, Melissa, who is 
expecting their third child in March.

The Big A Auto Parts Ford is owned by CAA Performance Group. CAA consists of 
some of the biggest names in auto racing, including winning NASCAR and CART 
driver John Andretti; well-known promoter and administrator Cary Agajanian; 
former California Lt. Governor and winning Winston Cup car owner Mike Curb; 
and well-known motorsports manager Don Laird.

The thoughts of Big A Auto Parts Ford driver Stevie Reeves heading into 

"It used to be Michigan was the second place you thought about racing as a 
midget driver. That probably sounds worse than it should but for any midget 
driver with any aspirations about his future, you first thought about 
Indianapolis and then you thought about Michigan. Those two always fought 
back and forth over which was the fastest, and both are incredibly fast.

"I guess these Busch cars look like they are lumbering around Michigan 
compared to what the CART cars are doing but, believe me, they are pretty 
quick. Things can happen in a hurry at Michigan. When it really comes down to 
it, the only difference in time with things happening in front of you between 
a Michigan and a Bristol is that you can see it a lot sooner at a Michigan.

"Going into the first and third turns, you always glance over your left 
shoulder and look for smoke. That's usually the sign of something pretty bad 
happening over in turn two, and you hope that somebody in the infield hasn't 
picked that particular time to cook a hot dog by their motorhome. You look as 
far down the track as you can when you are coming out of four and two. Maybe 
your mom always told you to not go looking for trouble, but no stock car 
racer is going to think that way. Too much can happen too quickly at 
Michigan. You always hear it but it is true, 'To finish first, first you've 
got to finish.' That's no truer anyplace than Michigan.

"That's not to say you shouldn't be aggressive. You have to be. But I think 
that's what makes racing so great. Hey, two football teams playing is next to 
nothing. One quarterback trying to dodge 11 other guys? Big deal. Get one of 
them out here and let him compete by himself against 41 other guys, and try 
to dodge everybody around him while trying to chase down the guy in front of 
him. And remind him not to blink because he'll have traveled a couple of 
football fields by the time he gets his eyes back open - if he hasn't slammed 
into four or five cars in front of him or gotten passed by four or five from 
behind him.

"The competition is about as good as any you'll see anywhere. The points 
championship we have going on now is pretty exciting from the grandstands, 
but it's pretty exciting to watch from this Big A Auto Parts Ford too. This 
is the first year I've run a full schedule and really run for points, so that 
part is pretty exciting to me. By the same token, I'm remembering what I'm 
seeing and feeling and doing, because that could be this team fighting for 
the top 10 or fighting for the national championship a year from now.

"I think people lose sight of the fact that this is a pretty new race team. 
This team first was put in place a year and a half ago. I came over from 
another Busch team where I'd been running about half the races, and we ran a 
partial schedule last year. (Crew chief) John Birosh just came in about a 
year ago, and we've had new people come in since then. That's not to say 
we're happy with where we are right now but we are realistic too. Our goals 
are consistency and improvement, and that's what we shoot for week in and 
week out. We want to finish solidly in the final standings, and I think we 
will. We want to be consistent top 10 finishers and grow into consistent top 
five finishers, and I think we will.

"This Big A Auto Parts Ford team sure hasn't given up. We're fighting hard 
every week. And we'll fight even harder when we get to Michigan this week."

By Williams Company of America, Inc.