Bliss to drive at Bristol

Bliss set to run second truck at Bristol by Shawn A. Akers BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 17, 1998) Mike Bliss, who was involved in a multi-truck accident on the third lap of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pronto Auto Parts 400K at Texas Motor...

Bliss set to run second truck at Bristol by Shawn A. Akers

BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 17, 1998) Mike Bliss, who was involved in a multi-truck accident on the third lap of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pronto Auto Parts 400K at Texas Motor Speedway nearly two weeks ago, plans to run a second Team ASE Ford truck this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Loadhandler 200.

Despite a broken collar bone and torn muscles near the bone, Bliss, if given the go-ahead from his doctor, will attempt to qualify a second truck for team owner Jimmy Smith in an attempt to earn points in the series standings. Smith's primary truck, Bliss' regular ride, will be driven by Dave Rezendes at Bristol this Saturday night.

Bliss said he plans to qualify the second truck and then run a few laps in the race before giving way to a relief driver. He said he'll have special padding in the seat so that his back doesn't rest on the seat. Bliss is undergoing daily therapy at the Miller Clinic in Charlotte, N.C., to help heal the torn muscles suffered in the accident at Texas. He said he spends about an hour-and-a-half each day at the clinic.

"They start off by putting heat on you to loosen you up," Bliss said. "Then they start doing a bunch of exercises to stretch your arms out. The biggest thing is not the bone right now that is giving me problems. It's the muscle that tore up, the shoulder muscles. When the shoulder blade got pushed up and broke, it tore up a bunch of muscles inside. They're trying to get all the muscles to work again."

Bliss said he'll continue the therapy until he departs for Bristol. The plan is for him to return to the doctor on Thursday to see how the broken bone is healing.

"If I go to the doctor and he releases me, says that everything is all right, yes he'll race), and if he doesn't, I won't," Bliss said. "But I have to have a release to do it. More than likely I will. I'll do it because one, I need the money. Two, I need the points. I know I'm way back in the points, but you don't know at the end of the year, ninth or tenth might be the difference of $20,000. You don't know. And three, I can't stand not to be in the truck."

With the half-mile venue at Bristol and the severe banking in the turns, turning his truck could be painful for the veteran, but it's pain he's willing to endure at this point of the season. Bliss is currently 20th in the series standings after a series of on-track mishaps early this season.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will take a week off next weekend before traveling to Milwaukee for the July 4 DieHard 200 at the Milwaukee Mile. Bliss said he plans to be back in the No. 2 truck by then. The deal with Rezendes is for the Loadhandler 200 only.

"At Milwaukee I should be fine," Bliss said. "That's a month. Just from a week I can see a big difference. I couldn't even raise my arm up at the beginning of last week. Now I can get it up over my head. A week has made a big difference."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Bliss