|SOURCE: NASCAR Media|
Mike Bliss finished last in Thursday’s Second Budweiser Duel at the Daytona International Speedway when his #19 G-Oil / Plinker Tactical Toyota finished running five laps down in the 60-lap race.
Bliss entered the 500 field driving for Humphrey-Smith Motorsports, the once start-and-park team for whom he made eighteen starts in the second half of the 2012 Cup Series season. He picked up three last-place finishes in that run, including the most recent points race at Homestead last fall, and teammate Reed Sorenson in the #91 nearly unseated Michael McDowell as the 2012 LASTCAR Cup Series Champion. Bliss also finished a strong 8th in points driving for TriStar Motorsports, co-owner Mark Smith’s Nationwide Series team, which also fielded the #10 team for defending LASTCAR Nationwide Series Champion and all-time last-place leader Jeff Green.
This year, Bliss’ efforts were rewarded with a fully-sponsored ride for the 500, a brand-new Toyota with full sponsorship from part-time Nationwide Series sponsor G-Oil and Cup Series sponsor Plinker Tactical. Unfortunately, Bliss’ car was not as fast as it looked, and his lap of 189.438 mph was second-slowest overall ahead of Brian Keselowski.
Bliss started last in the 22-car field for the Second Budweiser Duel and, in the opening laps, managed to hang on to the lead draft. However, during the middle stages of the race, Bliss’ window net came loose, forcing an unscheduled stop under green. The race ran caution-free despite a late spin by Ryan Newman, and Bliss wound up trailing the field five laps down. This caused Bliss to miss the field for the 500 along with Keselowski.
Bliss last made the 500 in 2010 when he raced a backup #36 Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet into the field, giving Tommy Baldwin Racing his second-straight start in the event. This year, Baldwin’s team not only made the race for the fifth consecutive year, but for the first time put two cars into the show with drivers Dave Blaney and J.J.Yeley.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #19 in the Budweiser Duels since 1978, when Woody Fisher’s Belden Asphalt Chevrolet fell out after the opening lap of Race 2, following Earle Canavan to the garage area.
*Bliss is the first last-place finisher of the Budweiser Duels to finish under power since 2000, when both Bobby Gerhart’s Kewadin Casinos Chevrolet in Race 1 and Norm Benning’s SOBE Chevrolet in Race 2 finished three and two laps down, respectively.
*This was the first last-place finish in the Budweiser Duels for both Bliss and Humphrey-Smith Motorsports.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
22) #19-Mike Bliss / 55 laps / running
21) #39-Ryan Newman / 58 laps / running / led 1 lap
20) #36-J.J. Yeley / 59 laps / running
19) #98-Michael McDowell / 59 laps / running
18) #32-Terry Labonte / 59 laps / running