Bliss looks to return to Victory Lane at Evergreen By Shawn A. Akers MONROE, Wash. (April 1, 1999) Mike Bliss knows what it takes to win at Evergreen Speedway. It's just that it's been almost three years since he's done it. And Bliss, who ...
Bliss looks to return to Victory Lane at Evergreen By Shawn A. Akers
MONROE, Wash. (April 1, 1999) Mike Bliss knows what it takes to win at Evergreen Speedway. It's just that it's been almost three years since he's done it. And Bliss, who finished 30th in last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event here, will be the first to admit that the .646-mile oval isn't the easy race track to get around. But he'll once again try to master the short track in the northwest Saturday in the NAPACARD 200.
"Evergreen's a tough place," said the driver of the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford. "You have to stay patient and calm. And it's almost like the slower you go, the faster you go. Ron Hornaday is really good there because he goes just fast enough to keep up with the leaders or to stay out in front, no faster. He usually doesn't wear his stuff out.
"We won at Evergreen in '96, but we haven't run well there since. When we won, the truck was almost perfect."
Bliss started second in the 1996 event and dominated most of the race, leading on three different occasions for 153 of the 200 laps. He was able to hold off Hornaday, Rich Bickle and Mike Skinner to take the checkered flag.
Last year, Bliss encountered engine failure at Evergreen Speedway and wound up near the back of the back. In 1997, he finished seventh there.
Bliss said the Evergreen Speedway track is one of the most difficult on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit.
In 1996, he said, his truck "really stuck to the track and the setup, we had kept our tires from wearing out and we had enough truck left at the end to take the lead from Hornaday with five laps to go.
"Evergreen is one of the toughest tracks on the circuit to prepare for because it's flat and tough to get grip. You really have to work at the set-up to get it just right. You can easily be too loose or too tight."
Bliss comes into the weekend in 21st place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points race after starting the season with a 28th-place finish at Homestead and a 10th-place run at Phoenix. He's 137 points behind Hornaday in the championship hunt with 23 races left.
"It's time for us to get right back into the points race and we need a good finish in Seattle," Bliss said. "With only 25 races (in the series), it's important to score as many points as possible every race.
"It's not like Winston Cup where you have 34 races and you can have a bad race here and there. We just need to focus and not lose sight of the fact that we're in it for the championship."
Source: NASCAR Online