STEVIE REEVES DEBUTS WITH TOP 10 FINISH AT IRL VISIONAIRE 500 (Charlotte, NC) It was approaching 2:00 am Sunday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Stevie Reeves was getting set to head home. With one hand on his daughter's stroller and ...
STEVIE REEVES DEBUTS WITH TOP 10 FINISH AT IRL VISIONAIRE 500
(Charlotte, NC) It was approaching 2:00 am Sunday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Stevie Reeves was getting set to head home. With one hand on his daughter's stroller and another around his wife, he was making his way to the parking lot when he suddenly turned around and ran up to Pagan Racing co-owner Allan Pagan.
"You don't know what this night meant to me," said Reeves, shaking Pagan's hand. "It was a dream come true...really. Thank-you."
The kid who grew up in the shadow of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, who for 24 years strapped on a helmet hoping to one day get his shot, was officially an Indy car driver. How big was Saturday night in the life of Stevie Reeves? His grandfather cried when he saw Stevie in the car, as did many of the family members and friends that were on hand for the Visionaire 500. It was a big night, and Reeves made the most of it.
The former USAC National Midget Champion started 20th in his Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut, and he heeded the advice of Allan Pagan who told him to "go to school" in his first Indy car race. He went to school, and even earned some extra credit. By lap 17 he had picked up three spots on the field. At lap 109 he was 12th. At lap 129 he was 10th. He had moved to 8th at lap 149 and was running seventh with an eye on sixth when a constant velocity joint broke on the right rear with 19 laps remaining. When the checkers fell Stevie Reeves had a top ten finish in his first start, the highest finishing rookie of the four that started the race.
"That was alot of fun," said Reeves after climbing from the car. "Every stop we made the crew made the car better and better. But I've got to admit that I'm glad the first one (IRL race) is over."
"I've watched Stevie race alot, but for some reason this one was different," said wife Melissa Reeves. "I was nervous the whole night, but I'm not sure why. I've never been nervous for any of his other races, but this was different."
The tenth place finish was the best of the season for Pagan Racing, and Allan Pagan had high praise for his new driver after Saturday's race.
"Stevie did a great job, he really did," said Pagan. " We wanted him to go out there and run a clean, conservative race, and that's exactly what he did. Then he made an incredible save when the CV joint broke, so I'm impressed. I said he was the right fit for this team when we announced him as our new driver last week, and I believe that now more than ever."
"Running that first race was a thrill, no doubt about it," said Reeves. "Living in Charlotte makes it even more special, because I consider this my home track. I've just got to make sure I improve the next time out. I learned alot in this race. I feel really comfortable with the guys, and they gave me great pit stops. We've jelled in a hurry and in racing chemistry is the key. We've got good chemistry. Man, I can't wait to race that car again."
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