Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Josh Wise Drives the NAPA Toyota to 11th Place in Nationwide Race

// Courtesy : Autostock Images //

Fort Worth, TX – Josh Wise, driving the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, finished 11th place during his first Nationwide Series event at Texas Motor Speedway in his 16th-career start. The result was impressive especially since he started the 300-mile race in 29th position.

“I really wanted a top-10,” said Wise after the race concluded. “But we are getting better as a team so I am looking forward to the final two races of the season. I learned a lot here today and I hope I get the opportunity to come back to this place.

“The biggest challenge during the race was my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry was tight on exit. We worked on it and made some gains.”

“Josh did a great job today,” said crew chief Paul Wolfe. “He came all the way from the back and had a shot at a top 10 finish. Our goal was for him to keep all the fenders on the car and drive a smart race. He certainly did that. Everyone on this NAPA team did a good job. The guys in the pits got the job done too. It was a good day all around.”

Wise started the 200-lap event in 29th position and wasted no time in making his way up through the field. By the time the first caution was thrown on lap 49, the driver had gained eight positions. Wise told his crew chief to just tune on the car as he needed the most help on exit because his Toyota was tight. Spring rubber and air pressure adjustments were made on lap 50. When Wise returned to the track, he was in 18th position and Kyle Busch took over the lead from pole-sitter, Carl Edwards.

Adjustments made during the first service were not to the driver’s liking. Despite the challenges in handling, the NAPA Toyota was able to climb into 15th position, one lap down to the leader. The next opportunity to adjust the car came under caution on lap 115. The crew made a track bar change and Wise was in line for the “Lucky Dog” award. This time when the race went back to green, Wise had the get up and go he needed. The NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota was producing speeds as fast as the leader.

The NAPA team’s big break came on lap 149 when the caution was thrown for debris. Wise was awarded his lap back and for the remainder of the race, he was in contention for a top-10 finish. The 25-year-old driver almost got his wish, but David Stremme passed him for the 10th spot shortly after the final restart and was able to keep Wise at bay.

Dominating the event was Kyle Busch. His victory was his 10th of the season which matches a season record set by Sam Ard back in 1983. Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Edwards, Mark Martin, Joey Logano, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose and David Stremme.

Next up for the Nationwide Series is the Hefty Odor Block 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Broadcast coverage starts at 4 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2 and MRN radio.

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