NASCAR BGN Series All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 Preview: #96, Stevie Reeves
1 October 1997
#96 Stevie Reeves, Big A Auto Parts Ford Thunderbird NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division All Pro Bumper to Bumper Advance Charlotte Motor Speedway STEVIE REEVES NOTES & QUOTES: ALL PRO BUMPER TO BUMPER 300 "These last four races will make or break your Christmas" CONCORD, NC - With four races remaining in the NASCAR Busch Grand National season, Stevie Reeves and the Big A Auto Parts Ford team see this week's All Pro 300 at the 1.5-mile Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway as an opportunity to make a strong run. The four remaining speedways: Charlotte, the two-mile California Speedway outside of Los Angeles, Rockingham, and revamped Homestead outside of Miami, are the types of speedways where Reeves and the team have performed well historically. Though it's a fact lost on many racing observers, this is Reeves' and the Big A Auto Parts Ford team's first full season on NASCAR's Busch Grand National circuit. Yet, the team has held a solid position among the top 20 in the standings all year, without the benefit many teams enjoy such as Winston Cup crews and technology. Among true Busch Grand National teams, the Big A Auto Parts Ford has proven itself as one of the top up-and-coming teams. Reeves, 29, is a native of Speedway, Ind., who grew up literally in the shadow of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was born while his parents lived in a house three blocks from the fourth turn of the famed speedway; he later moved to within one block of the first turn. Seemingly destined to drive a race car, Reeves has two national USAC championships and is still considered one of the best midwestern U.S. drivers. CAA Motorsports fields the Big A Auto Parts Ford. CAA is owned by John Andretti, one of just four drivers in history with major race victories in NASCAR, CART and IMSA; Cary Agajanian, one of the best known racing promoters and administrators in the country; Mike Curb, the former Lt. Governor of California who has owned CART and NASCAR Winston Cup cars; and Don Laird, one of the top race managers in the nation. The thoughts of Big A Auto Parts Ford driver Stevie Reeves heading into Charlotte: "The way we see it, these last four races of the season are going to be as big for us as any four races we ran all year. We've grown together and learned a lot together this season, and I think we've done pretty well for a team running its first full schedule. Moving from a partial to a full schedule is a lot more complicated than people might think. The logistics alone change everything you have done in the past. You don't have the luxury of not having to build certain types of cars or plan for certain types of tracks. Basically, everything you have done in the past is multiplied by a bunch. "Some of these tracks, it was the first time I ever saw them, and the first time some of my crew guys had ever seen then. How much rawer of a rookie can you be than when you have to ask the guy at the front desk of your hotel directions to the race track? You can't be a rawer rookie than that. But we have been able to overcome a lot of that and had some solid runs. We've run well at places where you wouldn't expect a team this young to run well. With a little luck here and there, we could have had a few really fantastic finishes. We think we might get a little of that good luck in these last four, and maybe have some really solid runs. "We're in the top 20 of the standings and it's important for us to stay there. That's one of our goals right now is to finish the season in the top 20. For a first-year team, I'd say that's doing pretty well. We feel we're pretty solid there now but we'll need solid runs in each of the last four to stay there. That's important to us. This is a really competitive series and I think a finish in the top 20, especially for a team that's basically as young as we are, is a pretty good season. "We know, too, that after these four races are over, we won't be a first-year, full-schedule team anymore. The stakes are going to go up next year. We'll set our sights higher and have higher goals. That's the direction we feel we're headed anyway. So these last four races are important to us from a learning standpoint. We feel pretty good going into Charlotte. We will see California for the first time. Rockingham has been a pretty good track for me in the past, and I think we can run pretty strong at Homestead. "Everybody is looking at this season the same way, whether it's Randy LaJoie and Todd Bodine or the guys back behind us in the standings. You want to take it one race at a time. You tell everybody who asks you are taking it one race at a time. If anybody asks, you fake not knowing the schedule, saying, 'Yeah, Charlotte and then, I dunno. . .' but you know. These four races are a group. It's a four-race series now. Everywhere we've run has already been run. You have to approach these final four like they were a mini-series themselves. Four superspeedways, four important races, four chances to do really well and four chances to really screw up. Just like everybody else, no matter what they say they are doing, we'll count them down. If you average a good finish through the four, then one bad race is no problem. If you average a bad finish through the four, then one good race doesn't mean very much. "You know, this season started back in February and we've run 26 races so far. We've been to Las Vegas and Michigan and Texas and New England and all through the southeast and midwest. It's sort of a shame, after all of that, these last four races are going to make the difference whether you have a great Christmas or not. "This Big A Auto Parts Ford team feels pretty good about how our Christmas is going to turn out. (Crew chief) John Birosh and the guys on this team are working hard and they're ready. Charlotte is the start." By Williams Company of America, Inc.