Monday, May 25, 2009
Bliss Felled By Vibration In 600 at Lowe’s, Moves To 2nd In 2009 Rankings
Mike Bliss picked up the 4th last-place finish of his career in Monday’s rain-delayed and rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway when his #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming and Resorts Dodge fell out with a vibration after completing 42 of the race’s 227 laps.
Bliss’ tumultuous weekend in Charlotte began on Thursday with a surprising 7th-fastest qualifying run for the 600 at a speed of 187.422 mph. The run was his second top-10 start in as many Cup races; he started 6th at Richmond three weeks earlier. In Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race, Bliss was the benefactor of a wild finish. A late-race caution during green-flag stops trapped leaders Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers a lap down, moving Bliss and Brendan Gaughan into the lead. Bliss took the lead from Gaughan just before the rains came, ultimately ending the race with 30 laps to go and giving Bliss his first Nationwide Series victory in five years.
Despite the victory and a determination to run the entire 600-miler the next day, Bliss fell back on Monday and went behind the wall under the third caution on lap 40, a scheduled competition caution, with a bad vibration. Bliss did not return to the race and was credited with completing 42 laps.
The finish was both Bliss and owner James Finch’s second last-place finish of 2009, the previous being the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta. For Bliss, it is also his second last-place finish at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the previous one being the fall race in 2000, then called the UAW-GM Quality 500. It is the first time a last-place finisher fell out with a vibration since Derrike Cope fell out of the 2006 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond en route to scoring a record six last-place finishes in a single year.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #09-Mike Bliss / 42 laps / vibration
42) #13-Max Papis / 219 laps / running
41) #29-Kevin Harvick / 224 laps / running
40) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / 225 laps / running
39) #34-Tony Raines / 225 laps / running
1st) Dave Blaney (3)
2nd) Mike Bliss (2)
3rd) Todd Bodine, David Gilliland, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Joe Nemechek, Tony Raines (1)