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NASCAR Winston Cup Series ACDelco 400 Preview: #41, Steve Grissom

22 October 1997

 #41 Steve Grissom, Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 ACDelco 400 Advance
 North Carolina Motor Speedway


ROCKINGHAM, NC - Kodiak driver Steve Grissom's approach to this week's 
ACDelco 400 race at Rockingham? Stay focused. Stay on the lead lap. Stay in 
contention. Shoot for the victory and aim for a top-five finish in the race. 
The Kodiak Team is also intent on winning the annual Pit Crew Competition 
that will be held Saturday at North Carolina Motor Speedway. 

"We sure want to go for a win before the season is out," said the 34-year-old 
Alabama native. "This Kodiak Team is capable of winning. We know that. We 
wouldn't be out here if we didn't think we were. 

"Definitely we're shooting for a high finish at Rockingham this weekend," 
Grissom stated. "Our aim is to make it into the top-20 in the point standings
before the year is out, and with a strong effort from everybody on this Larry 
Hedrick Motorsports team, and some breaks during the race, we know we can 
have a good performance."

Grissom is currently 22nd in the Winston Cup Championship point standings, 
and with only three races remaining this season, he knows he and the Kodiak 
Team have a great opportunity of accomplishing that end-of-the-year top-20 
finish in the standings. That was one of the goals he and the team had set 
for themselves at the beginning of the year.

Grissom stands just 57 points (2,806-2,749) from 21st-place John Andretti 
after 29 races, and the steps up the points ladder are even closer for the 
next few positions. The Kodiak driver is 79 points (2,828-2,749) from 
20th-place Jimmy Spencer, 94 points (2,843-2,749) behind Michael Waltrip and 
only 104 points (2,853-2,749) separates Grissom from 18th-place Ricky Craven.

Said Grissom, "The charts and records don't really give a true indication of 
how much this team has improved, especially in the second half of the season. 
We've had some really strong runs, only to have something happen during a 
race that prevented us from having the kind of finish we had expected. A lot 
of that was not our doing. We got caught up several times in incidents that 
we thought we had dodged or missed."

As for Rockingham this week, Grissom stated, "We have high hopes for 
Rockingham. We have a brand new #41 Kodiak Chevrolet we'll be driving. That 
means Larry Hedrick, the Kodiak crew and me have really put our emphasis on a 
strong finish to the season. This car hasn't been raced at all, but we're 
confident it's strong and will be competitive. 

"Rockingham to me is like a big short track," Grissom continued. "It has some 
superspeedway characteristics, but it also lends itself to some short-track 
characteristics. You definitely have to have a good-handling race car at 

Added Grissom, "Track position is critical at Rockingham. That means a good 
qualifying effort on Friday and a frontstretch pit position are going to be 
important. In the spring race, we were running well, but one of our pit stops 
was lengthier than it should have been when we had a problem with a spring 
rubber adjustment. We fell from running in the top-10 back into 24th or 
something. We rallied to get back to 13th, but got shoved high out of the 
groove in one of the corners near the end of the race, lost a bunch of 
positions, and finished 24th. So if you get good track position at 
Rockingham, you've got to try to protect it and stay out of problems to 
maintain that spot so you can possibly get the chance to gain some more 

In Grissom's previous three years on the Winston Cup circuit at North 
Carolina Motor Speedway he has had some good finishes, placing fifth in the 
spring race in 1996, sixth in the same February race in 1995, and 14th in the 
ACDelco race in October of 1995. 

Grissom knows what it's like to visit victory lane at Rockingham. He has won 
there twice, taking the checkered flag in two different Busch Series Grand 
National races during his BGN career.

"I feel like I have a good feel for that track," Grissom said. "That's why we 
feel so positive about this week's race. New race car, big incentives, strong 
team, confidence. That's what makes racing exciting. We're looking forward to 
it, with an eye on winning, and making some big headway in the points."

Meanwhile, the Kodiak Team has been putting in plenty of extra practice 
sessions at the shop getting prepared for this weekend's annual Pit Crew 
Competition at Rockingham. It's a pride kind of thing, and every member of 
the pit crew is focused on trying to how how proficient, how fast and how 
error-free they can be on a timed pit-stop. A victory in that competition 
means bragging rights for a year, as well as some extra cash. And what a 
confidence builder for the team, not only for this weekend, but for the rest 
of this campaign and next year, too. 

                        AN OFF-WEEKEND?

What does a Winston Cup driver do when he gets a weekend off? Why, he goes 
racing, of course. This past Sunday, Grissom -- who was spending the weekend 
with his family in Gadsden, AL -- drove by car to Nashville, TN, to take part 
in a celebrity shoot-out at Nashville Speedway, a preliminary event to Sunday 
afternoon's All Pro Tour race. 

Grissom and other Winston Cup drivers, among them Bobby Hamilton, Bill 
Elliott, Sterling Marlin, Kenny Wallace and Jeff Purvis, competed in a couple 
of 15-lap races in trucks the track had provided for the celebrity event. 
Grissom finished second in one heat and third in the other. 

Afterwards, Grissom drove all the way back to Alabama, picked up his wife, 
Susan, and son, Kyle, then drove the several hundred miles from Gadsden to 
his home in Concord, NC, -- all in the same day!

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