|SOURCE: SPEED / Rubbin's Racin'|
Mike Bliss picked up the 10th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #19 Plinker Tactical Toyota fell out with engine problems after completing three of the race’s 500 laps.
The finish was Bliss’ first of the 2013 season and his first in a Cup Series race since last fall’s finale at Homestead, four races ago.
Bliss was making just his second start of 2013. At Daytona, a slow qualifying lap and a loose window net during his Budweiser Duel kept his G-Oil Toyota out of the Daytona 500 and a rained-out qualifying session at Las Vegas resulted in his second DNQ. Bliss made the show at Phoenix, where only 43 cars showed up to compete, but he fell out after 34 laps with brake problems and finished 42nd.
At Bristol, Bliss showed up with a flat black Toyota and secured the 36th starting spot. Bliss’ lap of 125.708 mph knocked out Scott Riggs, the Phoenix last-placer, in the #44 No Label Watches Ford.
In Sunday’s race, Bliss pulled behind the wall just seven laps before Tony Stewart cut a tire and crashed in turn one. Stewart returned to the track several laps down, but Bliss did not.
Michael McDowell came one spot shy of becoming the second-straight driver to sweep both Bristol last-place finishes in the same weekend, joining Josh Wise in 2012. After spinning to avoid Stewart, McDowell pulled his #98 out with crash damage as the listed cause of his 42nd-place finish.
*This was the second-consecutive last-place finish at Bristol for both Bliss and the #19 Humphrey-Smith Motorsports Toyota. Last August, Bliss fell out after six laps of the Irwin Tools Night Race due to power steering issues. It is, however, the first last-place finish for the #19 in the spring Cup race at Bristol since March 14, 1976, when Henley Gray’s Belden Asphalt Chevrolet fell out with brake failure after 40 laps of the Southeastern 400.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #19-Mike Bliss / 3 laps / engine
42) #98-Michael McDowell / 26 laps / crash
41) #47-Bobby Labonte / 159 laps / engine
40) #95-Scott Speed / 184 laps / electrical
39) #83-David Reutimann / 184 laps / engine
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Mike Bliss, Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #19-Humphrey-Smith Motorsports, #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford, Toyota (2)