Fuel Woes Spoil Fast Day at Auto Club Speedway It looked like it was going to be a stellar day for Mike Bliss, who was one of the fastest in the field in Saturday's San Bernardino County 200. Unfortunately, two separate fuel problems affected...
Fuel Woes Spoil Fast Day at Auto Club Speedway
It looked like it was going to be a stellar day for Mike Bliss, who was one of the fastest in the field in Saturday's San Bernardino County 200. Unfortunately, two separate fuel problems affected the No. 40 Oakland Metal Buildings Chevrolet, resulting in an 18th place finish.
Taking the green flag in 14th after laying down a lap time of 42.480 in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying, Mike Bliss was named as the driver to watch after cracking the top-10 in only three laps. After another 10 laps, Bliss had marched into the 3rd position and was clearly one of the trucks to beat.
The first caution of the day was brought out on lap 23 when the No. 16 of Brian Scott spun out, and Bliss stated to crew chief Gary Showalter that the truck had gotten tight. Bringing the truck in for four tires, Sonoco race fuel, and an adjustment to loosen up the truck, Bliss experienced his first fuel-related problem of the day.
While attempting to fuel the car, the Key Motorsports pit crew had problems with the nozzle of the dump can, causing major spillage and requiring the team to utilize another can. This long pit stop cost the team a great deal of time, and Bliss restarted the race in the 18th position.
Only 14 laps after the restart, the second and final yellow flag of the day was waved after Bliss had moved up into the 16th position. Showalter called Bliss in for a fuel-only stop, which was completed without difficulty.
When green flag racing resumed, Bliss was determined to make up the positions lost during the first pit stop, and by lap 64, the No. 40 Oakland Metal Buildings Silverado was back in the top-5.
Still running in the front of the pack with 13 laps to go, Bliss' truck ran out of fuel, causing him to lose precious positions as he coasted slowly into the pits for more. After a quick fill-up and a push to restart the truck, Bliss was back on track, but unable to recover the positions lost with so few laps remaining. When the checkered flag dropped Bliss was scored 18th, a disappointing result for what was clearly a top-5 truck, but the top-20 finish moved Bliss up to 25th in the NCWTS point standings.
Mike Bliss and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are off this weekend, then it's back to East Coast racing in the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 7.