Phoenix: Bliss holds on to points lead

Bliss holds onto slim lead in points as series heads to Phoenix. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2002) - Looking for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, Mike Bliss (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight/Knights Inn Chevrolet) saw Rick Crawford...

Bliss holds onto slim lead in points as series heads to Phoenix.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2002) - Looking for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, Mike Bliss (No. 16 IWX Motor Freight/Knights Inn Chevrolet) saw Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Motel and RV Park Ford) and Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge) finish ahead of him in last Saturday's American Racing Wheels 200. In the process, Bliss also watched his lead in the points standings diminish.

Bliss has a 68-point lead over Crawford, who finished fifth. Winning his third race of the season, Musgrave is only 107 points behind Bliss heading into Friday's race, the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.

If Bliss averages a fifth-place finish or higher at the final two races, he will win the title. However, the race is so close that any of the top-three drivers could be leading the points race after Phoenix, while seven drivers still are mathematically in the hunt for the championship.

Of the top-three drivers, Bliss won at Phoenix in 1998 and has an average finish of 13.9, while Crawford finished third last year and has an average finish of 10.6. Crawford has also finished every race at the track. Hoping experience counts, Musgrave has been on the track the most with 11 NASCAR Winston Cup Series starts and has finished fourth at the track in both NASCAR Winston Cup (1996) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck (1995) events.

All three manufacturers are represented in the top three and Chevrolet can win its fifth title - its first since 1998 - with a second-place finish at either Phoenix or next week's season final at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ted Musgrave , Rick Crawford , Mike Bliss