Mike Bliss Takes Second in Nationwide Race yet Waits for Phone To Ring

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer ISeptember 27, 2009

DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mike Bliss, driver of the 09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resort Dodge waits in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2009 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In spite of a second place finish in the Nationwide race at Dover International Speedway, Mike Bliss still waits for the phone to ring with the next offer to race.

"Monday, I really didn't have a ride for here," Bliss said speaking of the Dover 200 Nationwide race. "Just finishing second was good for me."

"But then it sucks 'cause you could see the leader," Bliss continued with a chuckle. "And you wanted to see that big Dover trophy."

"But I was excited."

Six weeks ago, Bliss lost his ride in the No. 1 car in the Nationwide Series. Since stepping out of that car, the other replacements for Bliss have not fared so well.

Martin Truex, Jr. piloted Bliss' former Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resort Chevrolet for the Dover race this week. Truex qualified in the 24th position and finished the race in 16th place.

For the Nationwide race this weekend at the Monster Mile, Bliss secured a ride in the No. 11 Ridemakerz Toyota. This pick-up ride took Bliss to his sixth top 10 finish in 10 races at Dover International Speedway.

Bliss' race day started off well, with a qualifying run of 23.721 seconds and a speed of 151.764 mph that put him in the third spot to start the race. Bliss was just 0.361 seconds off the pace of pole sitter Kyle Busch.

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Bliss advised that the No. 11 race car was certainly capable of the win. He shared that he has known Paul Wolf, the crew chief, and many of the team members for quite some time and they have worked together before.

"I know how Paul thinks and I know how Paul works," Bliss said. "He's one of those meticulous crew chiefs that looks over notes. I really respect that."

"They have ran good all year but they just haven't put it all together."

Bliss seemed able to do just that, running in the top five for most of the race. He was able to overtake Kyle Busch for the second spot after Busch's car got loose

"We were a lot snugger," Bliss said. "So we could drive up off the corner a lot better."

Bliss also thought he might just have something for race leader Clint Bowyer in his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Holiday Inn Chevrolet late in the race. But Bowyer went on to stretch out his lead and won the race under rain-threatening skies.

"I thought we could win the race but there at the end, we were too equal and the 29 got away from us," Bliss said.

Bliss did take a bit of pleasure in the fact that he lapped the No. 1 car, his former ride. "Did I lap the 1 today?" Bliss asked in his post race interview in the media center. "I think I lapped it."

Bliss made clear that he harbors no ill will, however, toward his former team. In fact, he shared that he is actually staying with that team for the race weekend.

"We're still all good friends," Bliss said. "It's really a weird, weird situation."

"But it's racing and the way everything is right now, all you can say is it's racing."

Bliss admitted that his new ride just felt "good" to him. And he also shared that he has a true affection with the Dover race track.

"I like Dover. I like concrete," Bliss said. "I think I do well at these places."

"I have no idea why. I think my driving style just suits the place."

Bliss advised that he had no idea what was next for him as far as the No. 11 car and was back to basically waiting for the phone to ring again. He did share that he planned to race Curtis Key's No. 40 car at Kansas.

"After that I have no idea," Bliss said. "As old as I am and been through a lot, I just wake up on Monday and if the phone doesn't ring, Tuesday's kind of depressing."

With a chuckle, Bliss continued philosophically, "They say drivers drive harder when they are looking for a job."

Of this weekend at Dover, all Bliss could say was "It was a good car and thank God I had something to drive."