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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

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

"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.