Martinsville: Mike Bliss race report

Mike Bliss Finishes 25th at Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville, VA) March 30, 2010 - In his 100th career Sprint Cup Series start, and on the same track that his Sprint Cup career started, Mike Bliss drove the No. 36 Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet...

Mike Bliss Finishes 25th at Martinsville Speedway

(Martinsville, VA) March 30, 2010 - In his 100th career Sprint Cup Series start, and on the same track that his Sprint Cup career started, Mike Bliss drove the No. 36 Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet to a 25th place finish in Monday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The solid finish marked the third top-25 effort of the 2010 season for the Tommy Baldwin Racing team.

With the race being delayed a day due to rain, weather concerns at the track lingered Monday. However, the cars took the green flag just after 12pm est. under a picture-perfect sunny sky. Bliss began the race in 39th position with qualifying rained out Friday and starting positions determined by current owner's points.

Bliss had the car moving up through the field in the early stages of the race and avoided trouble until David Stremme's spin in front of the No. 36 Chevrolet on lap 63. The Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet suffered damage to the left front side of the car. After bringing the car down pit road twice during the caution, the crew was able to keep the car on the lead lap running in 35th position.

Despite the damage, Bliss and the Tommy Baldwin Racing team stayed on the lead lap for the first 115 laps Monday and avoided trouble for most of the day despite numerous cautions. Unfortunately, on lap 304 the car received further damage to the front when it was involved with the wreck caused by a spin in turn two by Elliot Sadler.

On lap 364, during caution number 10 of the day, the team took a chance and stayed on the track in order to get a lap back. Bliss did a great job handling the car on old tires and maintaining position in the top-30, putting the team in excellent position for a strong finish.

By lap 486, Bliss had the car up to 25th position, the highest it had been all afternoon. The team stayed in the 25th position until Kyle Busch's spin on lap 499 set up the green-white-checkered finish. The team made the decision to stay out on the track during the final caution, and Bliss was able to hold off cars that pitted for the 25th place finish.

"Well, we got what we wanted when we came here, and that's a top-25 finish," said Bliss. "We learned a lot as a team this weekend, with this being our first race together on a short track. I was real happy with the car at the end and the last two runs we got the Wave Energy Drink Chevy where we wanted to be," he added.

In a race that included 14 cautions for a total of 79 laps, it was quite an accomplishment keeping the car in running order for the end of the race. The 25th place finish matched the result Bliss had in his first Sprint Cup race 12 years ago at the same track.

With the finish, Tommy Baldwin jumped up one spot to 37th in owner's points, 66 points back of 35th position. The team will get a break this week as NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series takes a weekend off. They will next look to improve their position Saturday night April 10th at Phoenix International Raceway, for the Subway Fresh Fit 600.

-source: tbr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Mike Bliss , David Stremme , Tommy Baldwin , Kyle Busch
Teams Tommy Baldwin Racing