Bliss to debut in Cat Chevy in Martinsville MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Sept. 21, 1998) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Mike Bliss will make his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut this week behind the wheel of the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet. Car ...
Bliss to debut in Cat Chevy in Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Sept. 21, 1998) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Mike Bliss will make his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut this week behind the wheel of the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet. Car owner Buz McCall has contracted the 33-year-old for Sunday's NAPA AutoCare 500 at the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway.
"We were looking for someone who had that little bit extra on short tracks and who knew something about how to get around Martinsville," McCall said. "Most importantly, we were looking for someone who was hungry to do some big things. We feel we found all of that in Mike Bliss."
Bliss currently drives the Team ASE Ford truck owned by Jimmy Smith for the team led by veteran crew chief Barry Dodson. He has won at Milwaukee this season, as well as a second-place finish at Louisville and a third at Odessa, Mo. Bliss has four career wins and has won more than $1 million in truck competition. In his 70 starts, he has 34 top 10 finishes.
"We think this Caterpillar Chevrolet team has some real positives and we're looking forward to seeing what a driver with Mike Bliss' talents and enthusiasm can do for us," McCall said. "Our last time out at a short track, we had a pretty good night (the team, with Ted Musgrave driving, ran the first portion of the race in the top-10 before an inopportune caution flag). We want to do the same thing at Martinsville, and think we have the chance to do just that."
Bliss began his racing career in quarter-midgets, was the top rookie driver on the NASCAR Reb-Co Northwest Tour for Late Model Stock Cars, and began racing supermodifieds at age 20. He won that division's race in the famed Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway in 1986, adding a USAC Silver Crown victory at the one-mile superspeedway in 1993 and 1995. He was the 1993 Silver Crown champion.
Bliss joined Jimmy and Marlene Smith's Ultra Motorsports team in 1995, won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at North Wilkesboro Speedway and finished in the top-10 in the series' standings.
In 1996, Bliss and Dodson guided the team to a pair of victories, at Evergreen Speedway and I-70 Speedway. Bliss also captured a pair of Bud Poles at The Milwaukee Mile and at Louisville Motor Speedway.
Much of 1997 was frustrating for the No. 2 team, as they consistently had strong trucks but could not score a win. However, they broke through in a big way, picking up a victory in the inaugural race at California Speedway. The end result was strong, though, as he placed fourth, a career-best, in the series' final standings.
This season has been one of strong qualifying efforts but disappointing results in races. Bliss and Smith have agreed to part ways at the end of this season. Source: NASCAR Online