LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 29, 1998) Ultra Motorsports/Team ASE Racing announced Saturday that Mike Bliss, driver of the No. 2 Team ASE Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will not return with the team next year. The decision was apparently...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 29, 1998) Ultra Motorsports/Team ASE Racing announced Saturday that Mike Bliss, driver of the No. 2 Team ASE Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will not return with the team next year. The decision was apparently mutual and will end a four-year relationship between team and driver.
"The team and I came to an agreement that things weren't working out the way we had hoped," Bliss said. "The chemistry just isn't there. It's time for Mike Bliss to move forward with his racing career."
Bliss declined to comment on any plans for next year, and would not say whether a turnaround in the team's fortunes between now and the end of the season could change the situation. But he didn't seem to be considering such a possibility.
"It was an extremely difficult decision to make, but it is in everybody's best interest if we all go our separate ways," Bliss said. "I have enjoyed working with the No. 2 Team ASE crew, and I have learned a lot, especially from Barry Dodson. I am very thankful for the opportunity that (team owner) Jim Smith has given me, but when things aren't working out, a change needs to be made. I will miss the team and I wish them all the success they deserve."
Bliss has had an up-and-down season in 1998, after beginning the year with high expectations. But after winning at Milwaukee in the 10th race of the season, then nabbing two top 10s in the next three races, Bliss has finished out of the top-10 in each of the last five races entering the Kroger 225 at Louisville Motor Speedway.
Smith said the team will make the most of the rest of the season.
"Team ASE/Ultra Motorsports has chosen to go in a different direction for 1999," he said. "It is in the best interest of both Mike Bliss and Ultra Motorsports to make a change. We will complete the season with Bliss as our driver, and we will continue to give 110 percent. We wish Mike the best and continued success. I am confident he will do a great job for another team."
Bliss starts Saturday's Kroger 225 in fourth, but qualifying hasn't been the team's problem. Bliss has won three Bud Pole Awards, has 10 top-five and 15 top-10 starts, and an average starting position of 6.9. Unfortunately, his average finish going into the Kroger 225 is 17.56.
Source: NASCAR Online