Homestead, Fl-- Mike Bliss clinched the 2002 Craftsman Truck Series championship after running a solid fifth in Friday's season ending Ford 200. Bliss entered the Homestead-Miami race with a 32 point lead over second place Rick Crawford. Bliss...
Homestead, Fl-- Mike Bliss clinched the 2002 Craftsman Truck Series championship after running a solid fifth in Friday's season ending Ford 200. Bliss entered the Homestead-Miami race with a 32 point lead over second place Rick Crawford. Bliss and his #16 IWX team capitalized on a caution flag and used a different pit strategy to bring home the title.
Bliss began the season in Daytona unsure if he would be able to run the entire season. A lot has changed since February,though, and after running the schedule ragged, he did make the full return to the truck division. He did so by making beyond a bold statement. The veteran driver scored a handful of wins and 13 top-five finishes.
Following his title-clinching fifth place finish, a jubilant Bliss, known for his fancy footwork, exited the truck, showcased some moves atop his winning Chevy and vocally expressed his emotions. "Unbelievable! I didn't want to think of this until after the race. I started tingling with about two to go."
The driver finishing second in the points, Rick Crawford got trapped a lap down after he and his #14 team decided to pit prior to the lone caution flag. He ended the season 46 points behind Bliss and was clearly disappointed in the runner-up points finish, but he opted to shrug it off and focus on his race run. "Nevertheless, it was a great run."
Crawford may have had a better shot at the title had he won a race or two. Although being close many times, he has not won in 119 events. Crawford did express his optimism towards a win and possible title in the upcoming 2003 season. "I know it's been a long time. I wouldn't unload this truck if I didn't think it could win."
Motorsport.com's Amanda Brahler's race report