Mike Bliss, a NASCAR Nationwide driver, recently took time do a Q&A session with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about his racing career and views.
TCSR: You previously was a driver in the Sprint Cup Series and now you are in the Nationwide Series. Why is it so hard for you to find a Sprint Cup job?
MB: “Well, I’ve always just raced. I never really had a preference as to what division I was racing in. I understand with my age, that’s not what the owners want in the Sprint Cup Series right now. But the Nationwide Series is more open to veteran drivers. I’m fortunate to say I have a ride in NASCAR with the way everything is.”
TCSR: With many veterans and young drivers racing in the Nationwide Series, does that make it more competitive for you guys (the veterans)?
MB: “Our team – it is still hard to run against Roush-Fenway and Gibbs Racing. There are other teams that got a little more than us, too. Our Nationwide team is a true Nationwide team. We get no help from any other team or sponsor like Goodyear. We’re strictly on our own. There’s probably 10-15 other teams that are in that situation with us. All in all, that’s just the way it is right now. I think my experience with this team helps in some ways.”
TCSR: You have raced for several teams throughout your career. What was your favorite team to race for?
MB: “It would have to probably be Gibbs Racing. I enjoyed that a lot. They are a good race team and are really good people. But than again, there are a lot of other good people in other race teams, as well.”
TCSR: What was that like being with a team owned by a former NFL head coach?
MB: “Coach Gibbs is one of those people, when he comes around, he lights the room up. He makes everybody to work harder when he’s in the room than they were 10 minutes ago.”
TCSR: You have 15 career Truck Series wins. But the most important moment for you was winning the 2002 Championship, what was that like?
MB: “That era was pretty competitive in the Truck Series. I had more success over there, but I can’t pin-point the reason why. I can tell you that I should have had won 5 more Nationwide Series races, but I didn’t. But I’ve had my best success in the Truck Series. Plus, winning that Championship was a great moment in my career.”
TCSR: You last won a Nationwide race in 2009. Could you talk about winning that race?
MB: “The last race I won there was at Charlotte. My two wins in the Nationwide Series have come at Charlotte for some reason. I don’t know why; I’ve had a lot of them get away from me, but those didn’t. The last win was a rain-shortened race. We were running good, but was in the right spot at the right time there.”
TCSR: What is it like being apart of Eric McClure’s team now?
MB: “He’s a really good person. He’s a good guy to work with. He can help me and I can help him in situations. Our team doesn’t have a lot of resources, so we try to work together as much as we can. The McClure family is a good family. They’ve been in NASCAR for a while now.”
TCSR: Being that you are the veteran driver, would you say that Eric comes to you for a lot of advice, or would you say it’s the other way around?
MB: “He’s come to me many times at the race track asking for advice. We work together on track information, sometimes we’ve used the track information that he suggested. We have worked good together. When we go to the places that he doesn’t run good at, I try to offer him some advice.”
TCSR: You mentioned that you are not the best driver on a road course. Why do you struggle with them?
MB: “I think the competitiveness on road courses has gotten a lot better. We have a lot of different drivers in there, and some of the big teams have stepped it up and made specialized cars for the road courses. Going back 5-10 years, teams couldn’t build road course cars or trucks. You had to use your regular race car on the road course, and many teams struggled. Teams and drivers have gotten so much better. You used to see Ron Fellows and Boris Said come over and kick our butt, but it’s not that way anymore. Everything has picked up on the road courses.”
TCSR: What is your favorite track?
MB: “I would say Charlotte is my favorite track, because it has treated me really well. It rewards me better than any other place. I also like Richmond and Bristol a lot.”
TCSR: What would you like to accomplish in the rest of this season?
MB: “Well, I would like to finish better. We’ve been racing better than we’ve been finishing. I would like to have 2 or 3 Top 10’s by the end of the season, but we have to do better than we’re currently racing. Our expectations would be to put my car in the Top 20 of owner’s points by the end of the year. I would like to win a race, but as we sit today, I don’t think that will happen. That would be a big accomplishment if it was to happen.”
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