Bliss still hunting for 1999 ride

Mooresville, N.C. (Nov. 23, 1998) Mike Bliss, one of the toughest competitors in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, has proven his determination during his four-year run. Without a ride for 1999, that intestinal fortitude is being put to the ultimate test.

After announcing in August that he would leave Jim Smith's Ultra Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team at the conclusion of the season, Bliss thought he had a secure deal. Unfortunately, it didn't work out and Bliss is currently looking for either a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division or NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series opportunity. Smith, meanwhile, acted quickly to sign former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Mike Wallace to drive his No. 2 Team ASE Fords in 1999, with Wallace's former crew chief at Ken Schrader Racing, Tim Kohuth, calling the shots from the pits. Bliss, meanwhile, is trying to stay upbeat and keep his options open. "I had a few different opportunities to run the trucks again or a Busch car," he said. "Ten days ago I thought I was all set for next year. But then the deal fell through. Now the other teams that I was negotiating with have already signed drivers. I know it's kind of late, but I'm hoping that something will come up." Though disappointed, Bliss isn't giving up. He has worked his way through the open-wheel ranks of USAC Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget cars, as well as Late Model Stock Cars en route to his NCTS career. He also had an opportunity to make his first NASCAR Winston Cup start this season for American Equipment Racing in its No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet. Bliss joined Ultra Motorsports in 1995 and has accumulated 12 Bud Poles, six wins, 30 top-5's, and 50 top-10's. He feels with his talent and poise, he would make an excellent driver and spokesman for a sponsor. "I know racing is a tough sport, and it's never secure," Bliss said. "I just want to race and be competitive. I hope to be back in the driver's seat real soon."

Source: NASCAR Online