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Bliss Takes True Value IROC Title at Chicagoland Speedway

JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2003) - Mike Bliss led the final 49 laps to capture Saturday's True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) race here at Chicagoland Speedway.

Bliss, representing the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as the 2002 champion, edged NASCAR Winston Cup driver Ryan Newman by 3.252 seconds in the 67-lap, 100.5 mile race. Bliss' average speed on the 1.5-mile oval was 137.384 miles per hour.

It was the first career IROC win for Bliss and the first IROC victory for a representative of the NASCAR Truck Series.

Bliss, who started ninth, moved to the front early in the race and eventually took the lead by passing Newman on the 19th lap.

"It was a special win in a special series," said Bliss, who now competes in the NASCAR Busch Series. "The car was flawless and I just drove it as hard as I could. I know some of the best drivers in the world were behind me and I didn't want to let up. When you have an opportunity to win one of these races, you have to be aggressive and jump on it."

By claiming the win, Bliss moved from fourth to second in the True Value IROC standings with 49 points. NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch, who finished third, remains the True Value IROC leader with 57 points. Mark Martin, a four- time IROC champion, is third with 48 points.

The next and final True Value IROC race of the season will be Aug. 2 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during NASCAR's Brickyard 400 weekend.

 

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