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NASCAR BGN Series Dura-Lube 200 Preview: #96, Stevie Reeves

27 August 1997

 #96 Stevie Reeves, Big A Auto Parts Ford Thunderbird
 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division
 Dura-Lube 200 Presented by Trak Auto Advance
 Darlington Raceway


DARLINGTON, SC - Fresh from a seventh-place finish at the demanding
Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Stevie Reeves and the Big A Auto Parts
Ford team head to that short track's "Big Sister" filled with
enthusiasm for the remainder of the season. Solidly in the top 20 of
the NASCAR Busch Grand National standings - even though Reeves and the
team are in their first full season on the circuit - the Big A Auto
Parts Ford team seeks a second top-10 finish and, perhaps, even a run
for the front.

Reeves, 29, might be the last driver one would expect to see at the tricky
Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. His background appeared to have him headed for an
Indy Car career. Reeves grew up literally in the shadow of Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, living a block from the fourth turn of the famed track. A few years
later, he moved three blocks away from the first turn. His career on the
midwestern short tracks was stellar - Reeves is a two-time USAC national

CAA Performance Group fields the Big A Auto Parts Ford out of its shop
in Kannapolis, N.C. A unique conglomerate, the team is owned by
winning NASCAR Winston Cup and CART driver John Andretti; official for
several sanctioning bodies and well-known promoter Cary Agajanian;
former NASCAR and CART team owner Mike Curb; and one of motorsports'
top team and driver administrators Don Laird.

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

"After the good run we had at Bristol, we're pretty excited about
getting this Big A Auto Parts Ford team to Darlington. Maybe that will
get a little momentum going for us, something that will carry us on
through the rest of this season and into 1998. We think we have a lot
of promise and potential with this team and we've had the chance to
show that some this year. As we move forward, I think you're going to
see more and more of that.

"A lot of Bristol you can carry over to Darlington. The two tracks
don't look a lot alike but, believe me, they have a lot of the same
characteristics.  Darlington really is Bristol's 'Big Sister.' They
aren't twins but the genes are unmistakable. Darlington is fast, its
tricky and things can really happen in a hurry there. The racing
groove is thin enough so that if something happens in front of you,
there aren't a whole lot of choices as to where to go. There's an old
rule of thumb to aim at a spinning car, figuring he won't still be
there by the time you get there. At Darlington that doesn't always
help. He might have finished spinning but now you've got two or three
or four more cars going sideways in the same place.

"Like Bristol, you spend a lot of time trying to stay out of
trouble. The problem is Darlington is an old Western movie. Trouble
comes looking for you.  You hear about guys being lulled to sleep and
that sure can happen. I've seen it happen to drivers and seen it
happen to spotters. One of the reasons we've been able to stay out of
trouble for the most part this season is we don't get lulled to
sleep. (Big A Auto Parts Ford spotter) Tony Hunt is always going on
the spotter's stand. While I trust everybody I'm racing with I know
enough not to trust the things that can happen to them. If the blink
of an eye is all you need to be in a wreck or miss one at Darlington,
then the blink of an eye is all you need to get a top-five finish
instead of going back to the pits on the end of a hook. Believe me,
I'd much rather have that first guy leaning in the car window
screaming, 'Congratulations!' than having him saying, 'Hey! Are you

"Darlington's not impossible. I think it just tries to be. My guess is
they decided people were getting around the place too well so they hid
the start-finish line. I don't think that's going to make it more
difficult, but it is going to make communication a little tougher. You
know, 'We're doing great in one and two. . . I mean, three and four,'
and everybody sitting there wondering if you meant the old one and two
or the new one and two. Thank goodness it isn't a road course. We'd
need to be there a couple of months just to get the turns straightened
out in our minds.

"We think we can run well there. We're planning on running well
there. We'll get the car compromised the way you have to compromise
for Darlington, and we feel we'll have a good run. A lot of people
forget this is our first full season on the Busch Series and that
(crew chief) John Birosh and a lot of the guys have just now been here
for a full year. Believe me, this Big A Auto Parts Ford team is moving
in the right direction and we have good things ahead for us."

By Williams Company of America, Inc.