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Mike Bliss

Blissful Byrider - By Dick Jordan - 08/01/02 - Claremont, IN. - Mike Bliss of Milwaukee, Ore. captured Thursday night's "J.D. Byrider 100" at Indianapolis Raceway Park, leading the final 17 laps of the 100-lap USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship race which kicked off IRP's Kroger SpeedFest. In front of a crowd of 20,000, Bliss overcame a 73rd-lap tangle with Chet Fillip to come from behind and pass leader J.J. Yeley. Yeley, who led the first 83 laps, slipped to fourth at the checkered flag behind runner-up Russ Gamester and third-place finisher Jason Leffler. "This is the hardest race I've ever run here," commented Bliss, who owns 12 USAC victories at the .686-mile paved oval, more than any other driver. "The top-five all had pretty good cars. We were all loose at the start but this track changed quickly and at the end everybody was really tight. It was a tough race." Bliss averaged 91.614 mph for the 100 laps, run in under 45 minutes, driving the IWX Chevy/Beast entered by George Snider Racing. NASCAR veteran Tony Stewart started 22nd in the 31-car field and finished 10th. Trailing the top four at the end were Tracy Hines, Carl Edwards, Dave Steele, John Heydenreich, Brian Tyler and Stewart as 26 of the 31 starters were still running at the finish. Bliss won the pole and "qualifying races" went to Kasey Kahne and Stewart. World of Outlaws star Sammy Swindell escaped a flip during one of the "qualifying races." (more)