Phoenix: Mike Bliss race report



After working his way up from a 39th starting position in the Basha's Supermarkets 200 to well into the Top 20, Mike Bliss found himself run over by a competitor whose day had been going in the other direction. The headway that came from moving up 20 positions in just over 100 laps and earned praise as the most improved competitor to that point, was instantly erased by contact from the #61 car concluding lap 127.

Healthy improvements, during the only practice period afforded to NASCAR Nationwide Series teams on Friday, encouraged the team to expect a result similar to Mike Bliss' previous Top-10 finishes in his last 4 Phoenix International Raceway appearances. A change in track conditions favored late qualifiers, turned a promising tentative performance into a 39th starting position. Providence allowed the team a pit stall choice that favors green-flag pit stops, but the long runs did not come until after the #40 Chevrolet exited the desert event. The unsponsored team had overcome these challenges to forge forward progress through the halfway mark and beyond.

The Key Motorsports effort spent a third of the completed laps in the Top-20 at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway. Scored as high as 17th during the course of the event, the #40 Chevrolet was one of only 22 cars still on the lead lap when the incident occurred. Observers expressed disbelief that the spin could occur on the straightaway between turn 4 and the start/finish-line of the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

Bliss humbly attempted to share responsibility with competitor Josh Wise. "I was going backwards, I was real loose and, I don't know; I guess I moved up and someone was there on the outside. The spotters can't see on the outside. As a driver, you know that's a problem here, so you really don't wanna do anything like that. I guess I got caught on the right rear." Wise, who was running two laps down, was holding off a competitor behind him for position while exiting turn four aggressively on what would become the #40 team's last lap of the night.

The team spent over an hour attempting to make the car capable of returning to the track so that damage to Owner's Points would be minimized but were unable to do so. The unfortunate turn of events leaves Curtis Key, Sr. listed as 32nd, 12 points behind the #61 team. Only 18 points stand between the #40 Key Motorsports program and a guaranteed starting position headed to the 1.5 mi Texas Motor Speedway, for the O'Reilly 300, on Saturday, April 17, 2010.

-source: key motorsports

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Drivers Mike Bliss