Atlanta: Mike Bliss race report

Mike Bliss Scores 8th Place Finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway It was a hard-fought 8th place finish for Mike Bliss in the No. 40 Oakland Metal Buildings Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After a slow start in the American...

Mike Bliss Scores 8th Place Finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway

It was a hard-fought 8th place finish for Mike Bliss in the No. 40 Oakland Metal Buildings Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After a slow start in the American Commercial Lines 200, an early Lucky Dog and aggressive adjustments throughout the day made it possible for Bliss to bring home the first top-10 finish of 2009 for Key Motorsports.

Laying down a qualifying lap time of 32.130, Mike Bliss took the green flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway from the 23rd position, a disappointing starting berth after running 2nd quickest in practice the day before. Right from the start, it was clear the No. 40 Oakland Metal Buildings Chevrolet would be a handful, and fighting an extremely loose condition, Bliss had the leaders in his mirror early in the race.

Already running a lap down when a caution came out for debris on lap 30, Bliss was awarded the Lucky Dog to bring him back on the lead lap, but crew chief Gary Showalter knew they'd have to make major adjustments in order to stay there.

Bliss restarted 21st after an aggressive three pound air pressure adjustment in the pits, and by the halfway point of the race he had worked the Key Motorsports machine into the top-15. When the caution flag flew on lap 68, Bliss brought the No. 40 to pit road for a track bar adjustment, and another air pressure adjustment.

Restarting 8th, Bliss felt that the truck was "close," but the No. 40 slowly drifted out of the top-10 as the laps wound down. It would take one more air pressure adjustment for Bliss to be satisfied with his truck, and the Oakland Metal Buildings Chevy made the final restart of the race in 11th.

With only 8 laps to go Bliss battled into the top-10, then picked off two more positions before the checkered flag flew. The impressive 8th place finish is the best of 2009 for Key Motorsports.

"Qualifying wasn't too good and we started in the back, but we did real good at the end of the race and I think we finished good," said Mike Bliss. "Everyone seems excited, and it was a lot of fun today. It's fun going forward, and it sucks going backwards. We started off really, really loose, but Gary kept making changes and by the end of the race we got it pretty good. It turned out good, and I had a lot of fun."

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hits the track again on Saturday, March 28th in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

-credit: km

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Bliss