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NASCAR Winston Cup Bud at Watkins Glen Preview: #41, Steve Grissom

7 August 1997

 #41 Steve Grissom, Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 The Bud at the Glen Advance
 Watkins Glen International

WATKINS GLEN, NY - Carry cameras and photographic equipment for a 
photographer friend was not what he had in mind, but that's what NASCAR 
driver Steve Grissom was doing while the race was under way at Watkins Glen 
International last year.

Without a Winston Cup ride in the second half of the season, Grissom made 
good use of his camera-carrying time, surveying the demanding 11-turn road 
course, watching other drivers during practice and the race and how they 
negotiated some of the difficult areas on the track.

Grissom plans to use some of that knowledge to his advantage in this week's 
Bud at the Glen event in the #41 Kodiak Chevrolet.

"For a race car driver, it's difficult to explain how tough it is not to be 
out there racing with the other guys," said Grissom. "But I figured being at 
the track, watching and observing would eventually be helpful to me down the 

"From outside the fences, you get a little different perspective," added 
Grissom. "You sometimes can see when and how some of the drivers enter and 
leave the turns, when they shift gears and when they use the brakes. That 
kind of knowledge has to be useful to a driver."

Continued Grissom, "Being with Larry Hedrick Motorsports and the Kodiak Team 
this year has meant a lot to me, the chance to race full time and enjoy what 
I love doing, so we'll be doing our best to try to make a strong run at the 
Glen this week.

"We'll be using the same road-course car we ran at Sonoma earlier this 
season. It's a good race car, well-balanced, and we're looking to be 
competitive from the get-go."

On the road course at Sonoma in May, Grissom started 33rd, but kept the #41 
Kodiak Monte Carlo on the track on that hilly road course, and finished a 
very credible 17th.

"I don't have the road-racing credentials of a Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, 
Mark Martin or Ricky Rudd," Grissom said. "They're always competitive on the 
road courses, but they've raced these kinds of tracks a lot more times than I 
have, so I'm still in the process of learning.

"Still, we wouldn't be here if we didn't think we had a shot at winning, or 
placing high at the finish," stated Grissom. "With that, we'll go out, make 
the laps as good and smooth as possible and see where it all ends up.

"We'd sure like to get a good qualifying effort," said a hopeful Grissom. 
"Track position may be important on a lot of the oval tracks, but it's 
critical on the road courses. It's so much harder to pick your spots and make 
the passes on the road courses. So a good position to start gives you a great 
advantage, I think. If you're way in the back of the pack, it's hard to try 
to pass most of the cars in the field to try to get to the front.

"Another thing about road courses," added Grissom. "It's easy to break a gear 
or lose your brakes. So you have to go fast and make some hard turns, but not 
so fast or so hard that you break the equipment. If you're not around at the 
end, there's no way to win, much less get a high finish.

"From watching the other good road-course drivers, I've learned that patience 
is the key," Grissom said. "Rusty (Wallace) and Ricky (Rudd) make it look so 
smooth. Sometimes they're not going any faster than some of the other cars, 
but just the way they make the turns so smoothly, they gain the advantage, 
and work their way to the front.

"I hope I've learned well and can apply some of the things at the Glen this 
week I've been talking about. I know what I have to do. It's just a matter of 
concentrating and hoping the race circumstances fall our way."

After 19 races, Grissom stands 28th in the Winston Cup point standings, and 
believes the best is yet to come for him and the Kodiak Team in this second 
half of the season."

By Muhleman Marketing