Phoenix II: CJM Racing, Bliss race report

CJM Racing Gets Fourth Top-10 Finish, Helps Bliss Move to Fifth in Points Avondale, Arizona - CJM Racing is breaking team records each week. Their eighth-place finish during Saturday's Able Body 200 at the one-mile Phoenix (Ariz.) International...

CJM Racing Gets Fourth Top-10 Finish, Helps Bliss Move to Fifth in Points

Avondale, Arizona - CJM Racing is breaking team records each week. Their eighth-place finish during Saturday's Able Body 200 at the one-mile Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway gave them their fourth consecutive top-10 finish.

The team once again was fast since unloading on Friday morning. Similar to Memphis, Phoenix is a flat, one-mile oval, and the team was confident of having a good weekend. Bliss had the second-fastest car in the first practice and, again, was quick in the final session. The team didn't make a qualifying run, but was third best on the lap tracker making them a threat for the race. Bliss qualified eighth Saturday morning.

Over the past month CJM Racing has been instrumental in attempting to get Bliss fifth in the championship point standings by year's end. The team's three consecutive top-10 finishes (2, 4, 10) with Bliss put him in great position to take over the fifth spot leaving Phoenix.

The charge was on early after Bliss moved from eighth to third on lap 20 and again sat in the top-five for the first 55 laps. The team had their first stop after the event's second caution and helped with some handling adjustments. Bliss was racing comfortably in the top-six when two consecutive cautions slowed the event. The first was for the competitor Bliss is challenging in the points championship. Justin Allgaier cut a tire, opening the door for Bliss to capitalize. The next caution was for a hard wreck involving three cars, including Paul Menard taking a hard hit into the frontstretch wall and forcing a red-flag period. Menard was not injured.

The next restart Bliss was forced low into the grass and suffered front fender damage. As a result, Bliss slid back to 11th and was now in heavy traffic. Track position is always critical, and now the team had to battle through dirty air attempting to move back up through the field. The next 50 laps Bliss raced between 10th and 11th as the race went green for its longest stretch. Just after lap 150 the caution came out and Bliss came down pit road with the rest of the leaders. The team did quick service and entered the track back in 10th hoping to make a run in the final stages.

On the ensuing restart, a group of cars in front of Bliss came together and he became an innocent victim when contact cut the left rear tire of the RIDEMAKERZ Toyota. The Paul Wolfe-led crew went to work on pit road and Bliss went back on the track, and with 25 laps left in the race Bliss was back in 10th battling Steven Wallace. Bliss moved into ninth and CJM Racing was staring down another top-10 result.

Bliss picked off Kyle Busch for eighth and that seemed to be the lucky number for CJM Racing all weekend. The team collected their fourth straight top-10 finish with Bliss and helped move Bliss into fifth heading into the season-ending race Saturday at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"These guys give me great cars and it has been great racing for them," said Bliss. "I can't thank them enough for calling and have me get into this car. This team is really, really strong. Paul (crew chief Paul Wolfe) is a great leader and these guys are fun to be with. We had a good day for RIDEMAKERZ and I hope we made them proud again."

-credit: cjm

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Paul Menard , Paul Wolfe , Kyle Busch