Mike Bliss drove the Van Chevrolet sponsored Key Motorsports No. 40 to a 19th place finish in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event, the independent organizations 12th top-20 effort in the past 13 races.
Starting from the 21st position, Bliss moved the Van Chevrolet into 15th by lap 50 of the 200-lap affair before fuel miscalculations sent several cars to pit road around lap 53.
“We ran out of gas on our first run,” shared the veteran driver from Oregon. “There was a terrible head wind on the back stretch that probably accounted for the loss of fuel mileage we normally see here in Kansas.”
Rejoining the field 33rd and one lap in arrears, Bliss quickly went to work on gaining track position, with the Van Chevrolet car No. 40 being scored inside the top-20 on lap 110. Continuing a steady march toward the front, Bliss broke back into the top-15 by lap 130, occupying 11th on the leader board with 20 laps remaining.
“We made our first stop earlier than we planned to and we got out of sequence,” said Key Motorsports crew chief Gary Showalter. “That forced our hand at the end, having to pit with 10 to go, it cost us a top-10 finish.”
Praising the capability of the Key Motorsports prepared Chevrolet, Bliss added, “This car was absolutely awesome today. Gary and all the guys on the crew are doing a great job and we are bound to catch a break soon. We definitely had a top-10 car, we just need to keep doing what we are doing and it will come together.”
With six races remaining on the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, Key Motorsports holds down the 22nd spot in owner points, 31 markers out of the top-20. Mike Bliss leaves Kansas 16th in driver points.
Key Motorsports returns to action Saturday, October 9, 2010 for the CampingWorld.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway in California.
CAPTIONS: 1. Mike Bliss straps in the Van Chevrolet No. 40 for 300 miles of NASCAR Nationwide Series action 2. Mike Bliss makes a move on the inside during the Kansas Lottery 300 3. The Van Chevrolet/Key Motorsports No. 40 at speed in Kansas