Bliss returns for final 2005 races

Mike Bliss Back With Xpress Motorsports 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion to Drive No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado Four Remaining 2005 Races MOORESVILLE, NC - Mike Bliss will rejoin Xpress Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 16...

Mike Bliss Back With Xpress Motorsports

2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion to Drive No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado Four Remaining 2005 Races

MOORESVILLE, NC - Mike Bliss will rejoin Xpress Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado for the four remaining events of the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule.

Bliss and Xpress won the NCTS championship in 2002 with an impressive record that included five trips to victory lane, 13 top-five finishes, 18 top-10 runs and four poles.

"I am excited to be back with Xpress Motorsports," said the Milwaukie, OR native. "I would like to thank Dave Fuge and Chevrolet for giving me the opportunity to drive the Chevy Trucks Silverado for the final four races of this season.

"This team knows how to win races and championships. I think we have a great opportunity to win a races before the season ends."

Bliss began his racing career as a youth, competing in Quarter Midgets by the age of 10. During the eighties and early nineties, Bliss competed in super modifieds, stock cars, sprint cars and midget cars, capturing the 1993 USAC Silver Crown national championship. He continued with his winning ways, and in 1995, won seven USAC Sprint car races, three USAC midget races and one Silver Crown event.

Given the opportunity to try his hand in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Bliss began an impressive rookie campaign in 1995, posting five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes on his way to eighth place in the point standings. He continued to thrive in the trucks the following year, finishing fifth in the points battle and scoring two victories. Bliss continued to be a competitor to beat, and over a five-year period, won at least one race per year and never finished outside the top 10 in the championship race.

Bliss made the jump to NASCAR's premiere Series in 2000 and made 25 starts in the Cup Series driving for A.J. Foyt in the season opener in Daytona and Jack Birmingham for 24 races throughout the season. Bliss posted a ninth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway and had several Top-15 qualifying efforts during the season.

Bliss returned to the Truck Series in 2002 after sitting out in 2001 and it turned out to be the best move of his career. Not only did Bliss win five races that year, he scored four pole positions and was hit with only one DNF all season long for his Xpress Motorsports team. Bliss drove the Xpress Motorsports Chevrolet to the Championship, winning it by 46 points over Rick Crawford. In all, Bliss is a 12-time winner on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

After conquering the Truck Series, Bliss was presented the opportunity to drive a Busch Series car for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2003. In his first full-time Busch Series ride, Bliss drove to eight Top-five and 14 Top-10 finishes, narrowly missing a victory at Gateway International Raceway where he ran out of gas on the final lap. Following his 10th-place showing in the championship hunt, Bliss remained in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs entry in 2004 and had even more success. Bliss captured his first Busch Series win at Lowe's (Concord, N.C.) Motor Speedway in October on his way to a fifth-place points finish. Along the way he earned three pole positions, six Top-five and 14 Top-10 finishes.

Bliss makes the move to the NEXTEL Cup Series for 2005 driving the #0 NetZero Best Buy Racing Chevrolet for the Haas CNC Racing team.

"We are very pleased that Mike has agreed to drive for us the remainder of the season," said Dave Fuge, Xpress Motorsports team owner. "We had tremendous success together in the past and I think it will be pretty easy transition. Hopefully we can return to victory lane before this season is over."

"We have talked about continuing our partnership in 2006 and beyond but both of us want to make sure we explore all options available to us before we make a decision. So as of this moment, he will drive for us through Homestead and then we will reevaluate where each of us are in the decision making process regarding the future and go from there."

With Bliss moving on to the Busch Series in 2003, Xpress Motorsports hired Travis Kvapil to drive in 2003. Kvapil followed in Bliss' footsteps, winning the championship with the team. The second title gave Xpress the honor of being the only team to win back-to-back NCTS titles in series history.

Bliss, 39, lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with wife Sue and daughter Brittney.

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rick Crawford , Mike Bliss , A.J. Foyt , Travis Kvapil
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing