Phoenix Qualifying Report

Bliss wins fourth Bud Pole of 1998 By Dave Rodman PHOENIX (Oct. 22, 1998) Mike Bliss moved into position to snare the season Bud Pole championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when he won the Bud Pole Award Thursday afternoon for the ...

Bliss wins fourth Bud Pole of 1998 By Dave Rodman

PHOENIX (Oct. 22, 1998) Mike Bliss moved into position to snare the season Bud Pole championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when he won the Bud Pole Award Thursday afternoon for the next-to-last race of the season, Saturday's GM Goodwrench Service Plus/ACDelco 300 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Bliss, of Milwaukie, Ore., and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying record holder on the one-mile oval, turned a lap of 28.312 seconds, an average speed of 127.155 mph, in the No. 2 Team ASE Ford. It was his fourth Bud Pole of the season, tying him with Cintas Rookie of the Year point leader Greg Biffle, heading into the season finale Sam's Town 250 on Nov. 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"I didn't think it was going to be that good," said Bliss, whose last pole came on Aug. 15 at Nashville Speedway USA and whose record lap was 28.132 seconds, last fall. "I drove in really deep in Turn 1, harder than I probably wanted to. I didn't feel like I did that good down there. Down here (Turns 3 and 4) I really concentrated on getting into that corner hard and then off the corner. I was surprised."

Bliss was fourth-quickest in the morning practice session (124.822 mph) and fastest in the afternoon session, when he bumped his speed up to 126.404 mph in the afternoon practice, which was cut from one-hour to 30 minutes after intermittent rain showers hit the area.

He was one of only three trucks that held the pole throughout the qualifying session. Joe Ruttman's Exide Batteries Ford was the first truck out and his 126.667 mph run was good for 11 trucks, until Jack Sprague's GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet knocked him back to second with a lap of 126.720 mph.

Sprague ended up second, with Stacy Compton in the RC Cola Ford in Cherry RC trim in third at 126.711 mph. Ruttman and Ron Hornaday in the NAPA Brakes Chevrolet (126.418) rounding out the top-five.

Boris Said, Rick Crawford, Tony Raines, Mike Wallace and top-qualifying Cintas Rookie Andy Houston rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.

"I don't know about the race," Bliss said, looking ahead to Friday, when the 36-truck field for Saturday's 300-lap race will be held. "We haven't had enough practice to worry about the race yet. We've been cheated out of practice time because of the rain. But I think we've got a good set-up. What we've got now I'm happy with, but I think we can tighten it up a little bit."

Second-round qualifying for the trucks will be held at 12:30 p.m. EDT, following a 45-minute practice session at 11 a.m. EDT.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Boris Said , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Andy Houston , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Tony Raines , Jack Sprague , Rick Crawford , Joe Ruttman , Mike Bliss