NASCAR BGN Series Kenwood Home & Car Audio 300 Preview: #96, Steevie Reeves
14 October 1997
#96 Stevie Reeves, Big A Auto Parts Ford Thunderbird NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Kenwood Home & Car Audio 300 Advance California Speedway STEVIE REEVES NOTES & QUOTES: KENWOOD HOME & CAR AUDIO 300 FONTANA, CA - For the third time this season, the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series will compete on a brand new race track and, for the third time, on a new track located either right on or west of the Mississippi River. This week, Stevie Reeves and the Big A Auto Parts Ford team head to the new California Speedway in Fontana, just east of Los Angeles, for Sunday's 200-miler. A new track tends to put less-experienced teams on a more even keel with many of the others, so the Big A Auto Parts Ford team sees this weekend as the chance for another strong run. In its first season running a full schedule, the team has locked solidly in the top 20 of the NASCAR Busch Grand National standings and has remained there all season. Reeves, 29, is a two-time national USAC champion who moved to the Busch Grand National series in 1994. He ran partial schedules for three years before beginning his first full-time schedule this season. A racer virtually his entire life, Reeves grew up literally in the shadow of Indianapolis Motor Speedway - one block away from the first turn until moving to three blocks away from the fourth turn. Reeves joined the Big A Auto Parts Ford team at the beginning of the 1996 season The Big A Auto Parts Ford is owned by CAA Performance Group, a distinguished group of racers including NASCAR Winston Cup driver John Andretti, Cary Agajanian, Mike Curb, and Don Laird. The thoughts of Big A Auto Parts Ford driver Stevie Reeves heading into California: "I guess there was a time this was considered a dumpy little old series that ran a few beatup tracks mostly in the southeast, but races like this prove that's no longer the case. I remember hearing a little about the old Late Model Sportsman series (which was eventually renamed the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series) but I don't remember hearing a lot about it. It was one of those things you just knew was around. "Things have changed, huh? They've changed a lot over the last, what, 15 years and they've changed a lot just over the past few years. This is really a first-class auto racing series. Ten years ago, a guy running USAC wouldn't have even considered the Busch Series as a place to race. There was nowhere to go from there. Your thoughts were to Indy car racing for the most part and, if you really wanted to go Winston Cup racing, you'd slide over to the ASA series for awhile. For stock cars, that's the way guys like Rusty Wallace, Ken Schrader and Alan Kulwicki were getting there. You just didn't hear of guys moving anywhere from Busch 10 or 15 years ago. "That's about the only way there now. A few still are trying the ASA route but just about everybody thinks Busch Series first. This is more than just a place to hang your helmet for awhile too. This is a tough, tough series. It's competitive. It's competitive just among the guys who run it on a regular basis and, when you throw in those guys who come down from Winston Cup from time to time, it gets even more competitive. "The competition has made it grow, and it's grown a lot. I'd put the Busch Series up against just about any motorsports series in the country. We get great crowds, we have great races and you can't have a better time doing anything else. Hey, when Roger Penske picked a stand-alone event for his brand new speedway, where did he go? That shows you a lot about where the series stands today. And when he announced we'd be at California on a stand-alone date, nobody thought much about it other than how natural it was to do. That tells you even more about where the series stands today. Roger Penske is a great guy but I don't think they're bringing us into California to show us what humanitarians they are. They know it's great racing and that people are going to come out to see it. We'll sell some tickets. "This ought to be one of the best races of the season. The first races on a new track usually are. Everybody is even again. Some are better than others in general but a new track where nobody has tested before is an equalizer. Go to Bristol, where we've run for years, and we can go down the list of who is going to run well there. Go to Darlington, where we've run for years, and we can go down another list and be pretty much on the money on who to watch out for. Go to California, the track we haven't seen, and the list is a lot harder to figure. "Right now, me and this Big A Auto Parts Ford team are even with everybody else, maybe even ahead of a few people. Our job for three days is to make sure we keep that level, and to do what we can to improve it over most. The team that figures the place out the quickest is the one who is going to win. This race won't be won in the pits or on the track, it will be won in practice. "We have something of an edge because we have John Andretti's experience from the Winston Cup race he ran there back in June. That helps us a lot with initial setups and helps me with an idea of the line around the place. Of course, Steve Park has Dale Earnhardt, so that's probably worth a couple of tenths there too. Todd Bodine has, well, it seems like a couple hundred brothers running Winston Cup, and it's the same way with Mark Green. Everybody is using whatever knowledge they can find going into the place. If you don't have your own experience, you just go borrow somebody else's. "The place is a lot like Michigan, too, where we've run pretty well in the past. It's smooth and wide, and there is plenty of room for racing. We think this Big A Auto Parts Ford team can do pretty well there." By Williams Company of America,Inc.