AN UNPREDICTABLE RACE WEEKEND FOR BLISS AND BAM RACING IN TEXAS Changeable conditions make for eventful weekend at Texas Motor Speedway FORT WORTH, Texas (April 15, 2007) -- Race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway was anything but typical for...
AN UNPREDICTABLE RACE WEEKEND FOR BLISS AND BAM RACING IN TEXAS
Changeable conditions make for eventful weekend at Texas Motor Speedway
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 15, 2007) -- Race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway was anything but typical for Mike Bliss and the BAM Racing team. Sitting 40th in the owner point standings, the team was securely in the field for Sunday's Samsung 500 in the event of rain. With severe storms forecasted on Friday, the team went to work as usual preparing the No. 49 Dodge for practice and qualifying that afternoon. The weather wreaked havoc on the NEXTEL Cup Series schedule on Friday and qualifying was ultimately cancelled with Bliss lining up in the 41st position on Sunday. During the race, he battled changing conditions only to be involved in a single-car accident on lap 45 that ended the day early for the team.
Although the weather outlook for race weekend varied from severe storms to cold and wind to sunshine, BAM Racing was excited to welcome primary sponsor Paralyzed Veterans of America to the No. 49 team. Showcasing the charitable organization with a patriotic stars-and-stripes paint scheme, Bliss finished the rain-interrupted practice session on Friday in the 16th position posting a fast lap time of 28.535 seconds at a speed of 189.241 miles per hour. The team expected to have a strong qualifying run on Friday afternoon before severe storms ripped through the area and the field for Sunday's race was set by current owner points and the NASCAR rulebook placing Bliss in the 41st starting position.
Storms led to cold and wind on Saturday. Drivers and teams alike knew that with sunny skies forecasted for Sunday, the racecars would handle very differently in final practice on Saturday than in race conditions. On race day, Bliss and team were prepared to make changes as needed.
Crew chief Lee McCall focused his driver and team as racing action began on a beautiful spring afternoon before an estimated crowd of 191,000 fans.
"Go where everyone else goes so you don't get aero-tight," radioed McCall. "I'm sure there will be some ill-handling racecars out there from the start. We'll keep working on the car today and get it right for you."
A multi-car accident on lap one sent cars spinning down the frontstretch. Although the team opted not to pit, Bliss came to pit road for fuel only just before the restart on lap six. By lap 14, he reported that the car was loose especially on the right rear side.
After starting the race with a loose condition, Bliss reported that the handling on Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge was becoming very tight on lap 22. Unfortunately, on lap 45, Bliss was involved in a single-car accident on the backstretch that damaged the BAM Racing Dodge beyond repair. The day ended early for the team and Bliss finished the race in 41st place.
"This weekend was completely unpredictable across the board," commented Bliss. "The weather extremes really impacted our starting position and our ability to work on the racecar. With the weather being so different between final practice and the race, we knew we would have to make changes to get the car where we wanted it. We were hoping to make those changes but didn't get the chance when the car just got away from me and I wrecked. It's very disappointing but some things you just can't control."