Richmond: Mike Bliss race report



A happy experience came with the return of Mike Bliss to the driver's seat for Key Motorsports. While green has a stigma of being an unlucky color to many racers, no bad events crossed the #40 Westerman Companies Chevrolet's path on the way to a 13th place finish.

On Friday in the only practice before the Bubba Burgers 250 the concerted effort ran the full duration for 63 laps without any parts failures, with the scoreboard displaying the 16th fastest time for the #40. Qualifying showed an improvement to 14th, which also yielded a far better selection of pit stalls than the previous week. Crew chief Gary Showalter again chose a position which benefitted long green runs, of which there would be three in the late stages of the Friday night showdown.

Bliss is credited with spending 244 of the 252 laps or over 96% in the Top-15, and about 30 in the Top-10. His highest position was 9th and never was lower than 17th, staying on the lead lap the entire NASCAR Nationwide event. While there were a few laps when Bliss had to give a rookie driver some experience before he could get by on the inside (the rookie later demonstrated his ability to learn by earning Rookie of the Race), the closest instance to a tense moment came just past the midpoint of the competition when the Oregon native had a bad feeling about a set of "scuff" tires, and ducked into the pits as a precaution to pick up four new tires. If anything would have gone wrong with the scuffs, the potential was quashed.

With no failures, no penalties, a clean car and a lead lap finish the team earned a triple crown of praise from Westerman Companies representatives, who were "very happy with the driver, very happy with the pit crew, and very happy with the whole team." The Westerman Companies will next be presented on the hood of the #40 Chevrolet on Saturday, June 12th for the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Showalter declared the whole organization is in "a confidence building mode" going back to the shop to prepare for next weekend's excursion to meet the "Lady in Black."

Curtis Key's #40 program is now listed as 24th in Owner's Points, a move up of 4 positions, and only 25 points out of 20th. Bliss also moves up 3 positions to 25th in Driver's Points.

The Key Motorsports Chevrolet and team will be ready Friday, May 7, 2010 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina for the NASCAR Nationwide Series' next event.

-source: key motorsports

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Mike Bliss