Before I get to today’s Friday Feature, I have something to discuss. As many of you read this, I’ll be on a train from Tuscon back home to Chicago. I’m doing this column in advance. I have two articles based on my trip. One of them may or may not happen. If I can make this happen, it will be fun. If it doesn’t, I have a backup plan ready. As of this writing, I’m not sure the project will happen. I will try, but I’ll have more on that later. Now, on to the article.
While he was a singer, a radio star, a television host, and a movie actor, the name Jimmy Dean will always be known for one thing…breakfast sausage. Jimmy and his brother Don founded the brand in 1969, with Jimmy Dean doing the commercials. The commercials did the trick, and the Jimmy Dean brand became a success. In 1984, the brand was sold to the Sara Lee company, and eventually found its way into NASCAR.
Hailing from Milwaukie, Oregon, birthplace of the bing cherry, Mike Bliss has had a long career. He won the USAC Silver Crown Series in 1993, joining Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Ryan Newman. He would make his NASCAR National Series debut in 1995, driving a part time schedule in the Camping World Truck Series.
He would win the 1995 Lowe’s 150 at North Wilksboro, and along with 5 top 5’s, and 12 top 10’s would earn him an 8th place finish in the season. In 1996, he ran the full schedule, and with 2 wins at Milwaukee and Louisville, 9 top 5’s and 11 top 10’s. While he would go on to win the 2002 Camping World Truck Series Championship, his ventures into the other NASCAR National Series weren’t as successful.
Mike bliss would try a couple of races for Bahari Racing in the 1999 Winston Cup Series, racing in the 1999 NAPA AutoCare 500 at Martinsville, and the 1999 Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at Rockingham. Neither race was that good, with him starting 19th, and finishing 32 at Martinsville, and starting 43rd, running 2/3 of the race, and blowing his engine. For the race at Martinsville, he donned this Jimmy Dean Simpson driver suit.The suit doesn’t show much use, not shocking for a suit that was only used for two events at most.
The collar is a Velcro-shut design, with a Jimmy Dean boot logo on the front.The cowl has the standard Simpson warranty label sewn into it.The right chest features a NASCAR WINSTON CUP SERIES logo and a GOODYEAR logo, as well as a Simpson patch.The left chest features a BAHARI RACING logo and a PONTIAC logo.The front torso features a Jimmy Dean logo. The off-center yellow stripe is present here as well.MIKE BLISS is sewn in white lettering on the yellow background of the belt.The yellow legs have black and red stripes with JIMMY DEAN logos in television position.The shoulders have black epaulets with white JIMMY DEAN logos embroidered into them. The right sleeve features a STATE FAIR CORN DOGS logo on the upper black part. There are no logos in television position. There is a small Simpson logo at the end of the cuff. The left sleeve features a Simpson patch at the top, a BRYAN logo and a JIMMY DEAN logo embroidered into it. There are no logos in television position present. The back of the suit doesn’t show any wear to speak of.The back of the neck is unadorned.The back torso has a large Jimmy Dean logo embroidered into the list.I’m traveling by train home, and next week, things will be back to normal. See you then!