NASCAR

Bliss to Phoenix; Sauter to attempt two for TBR

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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for FOXSports.com. She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.

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Mike Bliss and Tommy Baldwin Racing have parted ways, effective immediately.

Bliss will replace Aric Almirola at Phoenix Racing.

Johnny Sauter will pilot the No. 36 Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet this weekend at Texas and next week at Talladega Superspeedway.

“Johnny’s been with us all year long helping us out,” team owner Tommy Baldwin said. “It was short notice but he agreed to step up at Texas and Talladega.”

Bliss ran five of the first seven races for Baldwin. He failed to qualify at Bristol and last week at Phoenix. TBR is currently 38th in owner points.

Sauter piloted the No. 35 entry for TBR at Phoenix and finished 41st. It was his first Cup start of the season.

“Mike has been rock solid in qualifying with a Cup car,” Phoenix crew chief Marc Reno said. “We were struggling and we have to make races to keep our guys working. We’re trying to survive until we can land a sponsor.

“Everybody loves Aric. But we needed someone that could qualify for races. (Owner) James (Finch) has helped Aric out in trucks and if we were in a better position, we’d love to bring him up to speed in Cup as well.”

Sauter, 31, currently drives the No. 13 Mike Curb Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series. He finished sixth in the CWTS standings last year and is currently 14th in points following four races.

Mike Bliss, 45, won the 2002 truck championship. The journeyman racer finished fifth the last two seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

He has 15 wins between the NNS and CWTS. Bliss ran 11 races for Finch in 2009. His best finish, however, came in the No. 71 Kevin Buckler Chevrolet at Charlotte, where he finished 24th.

Tagged: Johnny Sauter, Aric Almirola, Mike Bliss

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