Veteran driver Mike Bliss hit a milestone on Saturday as the NASCAR Nationwide Series entered Watkins Glen International for the second road course race of the year. As one of 19 drivers to make 300 or more starts in the Series, Bliss and his crew were eager for a change in pace and luck. Bliss prepared to play it safe at the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course, high atop Seneca Lake in New York. Always an eventful outing, the Zippo 200 lived up to its reputation for Bliss and his TriStar crew, who overcame a broken track bar early in the race to finish 27th.
Starting from the 25th position, Bliss was forced to take evasive action on the first lap of the 82 lap event. Applying his brakes more than normal, entering the first turn to avoid a wreck, Bliss was left unscathed but the two-car pileup halted the field under the first full course caution on lap one. Deciding to stay on track to “feel out” whether he ran over debris or flat spotted his tires, Bliss restarted 21st.
Bliss pulled the No. 19 into the garage so his crew could remount the track bar. The crew made quick work of the repairs, returning Bliss to the track only 11 laps down in the 34th position.
Bliss capitalized on the final two cautions to make slight adjustments to his Camry. During the final caution with 25 laps to go, Bliss made his final stop of the day. Restarting 28th, Bliss was able to gain a position in the final laps to finish the Zippo 200 in the 27th position.
“Again my guys worked really hard this weekend,” said Bliss. “We were set up for a good race, but when something uncontrollable goes wrong there’s not much you can do.”
Following the Zippo 200, Bliss still maintains the 13th spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Points Standing. Bliss and his crew will head into the third road course of the season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, August 17th.
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