NASCAR BGN Food City 250 Preview: #96 Stevie Reeves
21 August 1997
#96 Stevie Reeves, Big A Auto Parts Ford Thunderbird NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Food City 250 Advance Bristol Motor Speedway STEVIE REEVES NOTES & QUOTES: FOOD CITY 250 "Intimidating? I've seen smaller office buildings than those turns" BRISTOL, TN - At what could have been the site of one of their brightest moments of 1997, Stevie Reeves and the Big A Auto Parts Ford team return to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway this week for the 250-lap NASCAR Busch Grand National race Friday night. In March's Busch race at the high-banked 0.533-mile speedway, Reeves appeared headed for at least a top-five finish. But, indicative of the poorly-timed bad luck the team has seen at several points this season, a mis-timed caution cost the Big A Auto Parts Ford dearly in the pits and cost them what could have been a victory. Reeves, 29, leads the charge as the Big A Auto Parts Ford returns to Bristol to avenge the bad luck of the Spring. He is solidly in the top 20 of the national standings, even though this is his - and the team's - first full season on the circuit. Reeves grew up literally in the shadow of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, first living three blocks from the fourth turn of the famed speedway and then moving to within one block of the first turn. A two-time national USAC champion, Reeves found his niche in NASCAR, beginning with the Busch Grand National cars. At the beginning of last season, he joined the CAA Performance Group, which fields the Big A Auto Parts Ford, and is owned by winning NASCAR and IndyCar driver John Andretti; well-known promoter Cary Agajanian; former Winston Cup car owner and former Lt. Governor of California Mike Curb; and well-known motorsports administrator and agent Don Laird. The thoughts of Big A Auto Parts Ford driver Stevie Reeves heading into Bristol: "Bristol has been a pretty good track for me since I started in Busch racing. I've won a pole there and we had a great run there back this spring. We were a top five car. We knew that and I believe everyone else did too. We think we can go back in there and give them a good run, and really do some good things with this Big A Auto Parts Ford. "I guess I've gotten something of a reputation because I have always run well at Bristol and Dover. In one sense, it's kind of funny. You have good road course racers, you have good superspeedway racers, you have guys who are known for how well they do on short tracks. I'm getting something of a reputation as a concrete racer. It's not exactly the reputation I had in mind when I first came down here but I'll sure take it. Hopefully we'll continue building a reputation as this team and I gain more and more experience, and that reputation will be a good one on every type of track. "Maybe there is something to concrete racing. There is a different feel from asphalt. Bristol and Dover are a lot alike with the height of their turns and the steep banking. A concrete track can get as greasy as an asphalt one but it's not always direct heat that causes that. Asphalt gets a little looser when you have a lot of sunshine on it and high temperatures. Concrete stays the same forever, unless you hit it with jack hammers or something. But the cars will leave a layer of rubber on concrete and that will slicken the track up. As the race progresses, it gets a little slicker and a little slicker, just like asphalt does. With concrete, though, the time it takes to get the slickest is a lot longer. "The turns are awesome at Bristol, and the first thing a rookie driver has to do is get over the atmosphere of the place. You walk down to the first turn at Bristol and think, 'Man, I've seen office buildings smaller than this!' It can be intimidating when you stand on the apron of the track and look up. How many tracks you know where you stand on the apron and get a crick in your neck looking at the outside wall? "The intimidation tends to go away a little bit once you start running the place. If it doesn't, you are probably going to go away about the time qualifying ends. Still, it feels like somebody has hooked one end of a giant rubber band around your car and the other end around a pole in the middle of the infield. All you do is stand on the gas and sling yourself around 250 times. A good slinger wins. "Things happen quickly and, if you can avoid those things, you can have a good run at Bristol. Your spotter is important but he can only do so much. Cars wreck at the bottom of a turn and end up at the outside wall really fast. Of course, they are going to start sliding down pretty quick too. I think that's one of the reasons guys like (Dale) Earnhardt and Darrell (Waltrip) have always run so well there - they are able to dodge not just the first two or three cars wrecking, but they can get around the three or four others that end up caught in the thing too. "We're looking to run well Friday night. We had a good car in the spring and feel we can run pretty well when we get back. This Big A Auto Parts Ford team is sure looking forward to that." By Williams Company of America, Inc.