Our weekly series of interviews continues: 12 questions with NASCAR drivers who aren't currently in the top 12 of the Sprint Cup Series. Since the Chase drivers already get plenty of publicity, we thought this would be a good way to get to know some of the non-Chase drivers a little better. This week: Tommy Baldwin Racing's Mike Bliss.
What's the best race you ever drove?
MB: I think Atlanta in a truck, when I won (2006). We just had a good truck and kept falling back on pit stops and coming back. We never did just stay up front, it just seemed like I always had to go back to the middle of the pack and then drive back up.
Who's the most talented driver in NASCAR?
MB: Well, you know what everybody's going to say. I mean, you've gotta go with Jimmie Johnson, just because he's smart and got talent – he's got both.
When's the best time for a fan to get your autograph?
MB: It would be mid-morning. That's probably my best part of the day. You know, I'm a morning person, but then again I just don't like mornings as much as I like 10 or 11 o'clock. And I don't like 3 or 4 or 5 or 6.
What's something people don't understand about you?
MB: How hard I've worked to get to this point. It's never been easy. It's always been with lot of work. Every year, I've got to try for another ride. It just seems like I'm not locked in year-to-year-to-year. Every year, I've got to look.
If you ran the sport, what's one thing you'd change?
MB: The top 35. Open it up to the fastest race cars.
How long do you see yourself driving?
MB: Well, I'm 45 this year. Hopefully at least another five years. SBN: Then what? I don't know (laughs).
When you get home from a race, what's first thing you do?
MB: Take a couple Tylenol. You just get a massive headache.
Are you superstitious when it comes to racing?
MB: I am somewhat, but I'm trying to get away from those things. I'm trying to throw them out the window, because they don't make sense. You start thinking, 'Yeah, this is a lucky pair of shoes' or something, but it doesn't work too well.
Who will win the Sprint Cup in 2015?
MB: Five years from now? Martin Truex. I just think he's getting better every year. I think if he stays with Michael (Waltrip), that team will be to that point. And he's won championships.
Would you rather be known as a great person or a great driver?
MB: Well, I've been racing for a long time, so 'great race car driver' is probably not what they're going to say. I think 'person,' because first, you've got to be a good person to be a good race car driver. For instance, we all know Kyle (Busch) – but Kyle's really a good person away from the track.
What was your experience like with Kim Kardashian when she sponsored your car at Las Vegas?
MB: Well, I really didn't know much about Kim. I'd seen the show once or twice, but I was only interested because Bruce Jenner was on there and he gets whipped all the time by those ladies. Then actually once she was here, it was amazing the following that she has. I was getting texts and e-mails from all these people I know like, 'Take a picture with her' and 'Get her autograph.' I didn't get it. And I still really don't get it, but she's got a following I guess from that TV show. It was like bigger than Dale Jr.'s trailer outside.
What was she what you expected?
MB: The ironic thing was, I expected her to be spoiled, you know? But she was far, far from that. She does her own Twittering, and they drug her around to a point that I would get upset after awhile, but she was just going with it. She was very, very personable and a very nice person. I was quite surprised – I expected something else. She was down-to-earth.