Charlotte: Mike Bliss race report

Engine Problems Cut Night Short For Mike Bliss at Lowe's Motor Speedway Ominous clouds and lightning foreshadowed what would be a disappointing night for Key Motorsports at Lowe's Motor Speedway. After a dreary start to the North Carolina ...

Engine Problems Cut Night Short For Mike Bliss at Lowe's Motor Speedway

Ominous clouds and lightning foreshadowed what would be a disappointing night for Key Motorsports at Lowe's Motor Speedway. After a dreary start to the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, the No. 40 StopRepairBills.com/Westerman Companies Chevrolet experienced engine failure less than halfway through the race, resulting in a 27th place finish for Mike Bliss and the Key team.

With qualifying washed out earlier in the day, the first race of the night would be against the clouds looming over Lowe's Motor Speedway. While rain sprinkled on the frontstretch and lightning flashed over the backstretch during pre-race ceremonies, both blew over by the time the trucks were given the one-to-go signal.

Mike Bliss took the green flag in the 24th position after the starting grid was set by owner points, and immediately began to asses his truck's setup in the humid, cooling conditions. After 17 laps of green flag racing the No. 40 had slipped to 26th. Bliss explained that the truck was "crazy tight" on exit but good on entry, and crew chief Gary Showalter began to calculate the changes the crew would make to the StopRepairBills.com Chevy.

When the first caution of the night flew on lap 27, the Key Motorsports crew had their chance to make the major changes Showalter had planned: over the course of the 7-lap yellow, the team made multiple pit stops to put on four fresh tires, take fuel, close the front shocks, take rubbers out of the left rear, and make major trackbar adjustments. Despite the wholesale changes, the team restarted 25th, improving one position under caution.

Bliss wouldn't have much of a chance to test the adjustments, as another caution promptly followed on the first lap of green flag racing for a dramatic multi-truck wreck which sent the No. 5 of Mike Skinner tumbling and spinning on its side. The yellow immediately became a red flag and the field was stopped in the third turn for 19 minutes. When the field restarted on lap 39, Bliss had moved into the 14th position by electing not to pit during the second caution of the night.

Under green the No. 40 began to lose positions once again, and Bliss stated that the truck felt even tighter. Suddenly, the truck visibly fell off the pace, and Bliss reported that the engine had let go. Forced to retire to the garage, the StopRepairBills.com Silverado was ultimately scored in the 27th position.

Bliss' 27th place finish leaves the No. 40 in the NCWTS owner point standings, 492 points behind the leader.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hits the track again on Friday, May 29th in the AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway. After scaling back their Truck Series schedule, Key Motorsports' next NCWTS race is to be determined.

-credit: km

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Mike Bliss