BUSCH: Daytona II: Mike Bliss preview

BLISS ANSWERS THE CALL FOR DAYTONA WINN-DIXIE 250; TO DRIVE SMITH & WESSON BUSCH SERIES CHEVROLET DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2005) -- Veteran NASCAR racer Mike Bliss has been named to drive the ...


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2005) -- Veteran NASCAR racer Mike Bliss has been named to drive the #30 Smith & Wesson [AMEX: SWB] Chevrolet of SKI Motorsports at its next scheduled NASCAR Busch Series event -- Friday night's Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Bliss, the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and current driver of the #0 NetZero Best Buy Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, returns to the series in which he finished fifth in the 2004 drivers standings, and to the track where he sat on the Busch series pole last July during a full-season run with the Rockwell Automation Chevrolet team. He scored his first career Busch series win with that team at Charlotte last fall, and has three career Busch poles, 14 top-fives and 29 top-10s in 75 career Busch starts.

"I really miss the Busch series and it's going to be great to get back to it with the Smith & Wesson Chevrolet team at Daytona," said Bliss, who says he is fit and ready to go after undergoing a surgical procedure several weeks ago. "I had a fast car at Daytona last year, and I'm confident the Smith &Wesson team and (crew chief) Jeff Spraker will have another one for me this year. Jeff certainly knows a thing or two about speedway racing. I'm extremely proud to be associated with Smith & Wesson, a true American brand that's been around for the better part of two centuries. It will be great to fly the red, white and blue on Fourth of July weekend at Daytona."

Spraker, who drove to a ninth-place finish in the ARCA race here at Daytona last February, put the Smith & Wesson Racing machine through the paces in testing here last week and also expects he and the SKI Motorsports team will live up to the challenge of restrictor-plate racing on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

"I think the Bliss-Spraker combo is a solid one for our Smith & Wesson Chevrolet effort at Daytona," said Chris Lencheski, president and team owner of SKI Motorsports. "Daytona is an exciting place to showcase the Smith & Wesson Racing program. Mike is a veteran driver. Jeff knows his stuff on the big tracks. I'm confident it will all add up to an exciting weekend for us."


* This weekend's Winn-Dixie 250 is the fourth of eight races scheduled for the #30 Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet this season. Nextel Cup regular Scott Riggs debuted the car March 12 at Las Vegas, qualifying 30th and finishing 21st. Two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, Jr., took over the following weekend (March 19) at Atlanta, qualifying 25th before retiring after an opening-lap accident. At Charlotte (May 28), Riggs outqualified seven competitors who ended up making the race, but missed it himself by a mere four 1,000ths of a second under NASCAR's new qualifying format. Riggs and Hornaday will split the remaining races on the schedule: Bristol (Aug. 26), Fontana (Sept. 3), Texas (Nov. 5) and Phoenix (Nov. 12).

* Friday night's race will be the sixth career Busch start at Daytona for Bliss. He qualified in the top seven in his last three attempts here, including the pole at last July's event, in which he finished fifth. He started third in his only Truck series race here in 2002 before retiring with mechanical trouble, and has four career Nextel Cup starts here with a best finish of 18th in this year's Daytona 500.

* The Smith & Wesson 460XVR (X-treme Velocity Revolver) recently won the 2005 Handgun of the Year award from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. A commemorative racing edition of the 460XVR, featuring a 24-caret gold-plated engraving of the S&W Chevrolet, unique hand-engraved scrollwork and a glass-topped ash display box, was introduced in February at Daytona. The 460XVR is the world's fastest revolver with muzzle speeds of more than 2,300 feet per second.

* The Smith & Wesson Racing Online Store, where online shoppers can find a wide variety of t-shirts, polos, button-downs, hats, jackets, pullovers and assorted trinkets bearing the stylish Smith & Wesson Racing logo, is officially open for business at www.smith-wesson-racing.com.

* Continuing its ongoing efforts in support of the Department of Justice's Project ChildSafe gun safety outreach program initiated at Charlotte in May, Smith & Wesson will be giving away free gun safety locks this weekend at the Smith & Wesson Trackside Trailer.


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Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Scott Riggs , Mike Bliss , Jeff Spraker