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Mike Bliss’ 2012 Season Impressive, but Highly Underrated

December 27th, 2012 at 8:37 PM
By Clayton Caldwell

In the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series there were plenty of drivers who had a good year. Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler and of course the Nationwide Series Champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. There were plenty of drivers who got publicity, one of those drivers does not include Mike Bliss

If you look at the stats from Mike Bliss' 2012 season you may think I am crazy. He only had one top ten finish in the 33 races he ran this season. However you have to look at the team and the situation Bliss is in. Bliss does not run for a powerhouse organization like Joe Gibbs Racing or JR Motorsports, yet he beat both Brian Scott and Danica Patrick in the final season point standings. 

Patrick got rewarded for her tenth place points finish by getting tons of publicity and going to the Cup Series full-time in 2013. Brian Scott got rewarded with his ninth place points finish by getting a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series ride with Richard Childress Racing for 2013. Mike Bliss may not even have a full-time sponsor in the Nationwide Series after his eighth place points finish. 

'6.23.12 Road America NASCAR Nationwide Sargento 200 - 44 Mike Bliss' photo (c) 2012, Royal Broil - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Bliss runs for Tri-Star Motorsports, a four car Nationwide Series team with very limited funding. In Bliss' 33 races this season he had sponsorship in 20 of the 33 races. Both Danica Patrick and Brian Scott had fully funded rides with companies who paid their teams a lot more money than Bliss' did. 

Although he had one top ten finish, Bliss finished in the top 20 in all but four races in the 2012 season. He bounced around between crew chiefs and teams at Tri-Star Motorsports. While Tri-Star Motorsports may have flopped just the number on the car sometimes, it still was a hassle because Bliss had to change his mental approach to both qualifying and the race based on where the car was in owners points. That's something both Patrick nor Scott had to deal with. 

In 33 starts Bliss had four DNF's, the four races he finished outside the top 20. Scott had six DNF's as well as Danica Patrick. Both Patrick and Scott were with top notch organizations and didn't break down as much as Bliss did. 

Yet when you watched Nationwide races it was Danica Patrick and Brian Scott getting more publicity than Mike Bliss. It's no wonder why Bliss was only funded for 20 races in 2012. 

An eighth place points finish for Tri-Star Motorsports is much more impressive than a ninth place finish for Joe Gibbs Racing and a tenth place points finish for JR Motorsports, no matter what the circumstances. Bliss' 2012 season was one that many people should pay attention to. It didn't light the world on fire, but it helped his small organization grow by not tearing up equipment and giving the team solid finishes week in and week out. 

That's something both Danica Patrick and Brian Scott couldn't do.

Tags: Brian Scott, Danica Patrick, Mike Bliss, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Nationwide Series, Tri-Star Motorsports

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