Phoenix Mike Bliss to Drive CAT Car

Bliss returns to seat of Caterpillar Chevy CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 19, 1998) With the same team he made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut a few weeks ago, Mike Bliss will return to the series in the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet this week at Phoenix,...

Bliss returns to seat of Caterpillar Chevy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 19, 1998) With the same team he made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut a few weeks ago, Mike Bliss will return to the series in the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet this week at Phoenix, Ariz., in the Dura-Lube/Kmart 500. A standout in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, Bliss will make his second start at NASCAR's highest level and his second for the team on Sunday at the one-mile oval. He's already scheduled to be in Phoenix for the running of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery 300 on Saturday.

Bliss is coming off a 19th-place finish in the Dodge California Truck Stop 300 at Mesa Marin Speedway in Bakersfield, Calif., on Sunday. He is currently 14th in the series point standings with two races remaining in 1998.

In his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut at Martinsville, Va., on Sept. 26, Bliss not only qualified the Caterpillar Chevrolet in the first round -- a rare enough occurrence for many NASCAR Winston Cup veterans -- but ran all day and finished 25th. That, too, was quite a feat in a race that saw veteran drivers falling to the wayside from the effects of the heat.

"We're really excited to have Mike getting back in the car," said Buz McCall, owner of the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet. "He did a great job for us at Martinsville and we think he can do just as well at Phoenix, if not better."

Steve Grissom had been driving the car the past three weeks, qualifying strongly and running well at Charlotte, Talladega and Daytona. Grissom was the ninth different driver in the Caterpillar Chevrolet this season.

"Steve was really strong for us, and we ran well in all three of those races," McCall said. "He proved to me that he could qualify well and he could race well. There were some areas we were able to help him and there were some areas he was able to help us. It was a great match, and the results of that showed up on the race track.

"By the same token, Mike Bliss is experienced at Phoenix and he knows what it takes to get around the track well there. This is a young driver who just needs some experience in Winston Cup competition to be a top-notch Winston Cup driver. We think he is far enough along at Phoenix to be a strong competitor there this weekend." Bliss finished third in last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Phoenix. He won the famed Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway in 1986, has two USAC Silver Crown Series victories at the one-mile superspeedway, in 1993 and 1995. Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Steve Grissom , Mike Bliss