Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Josh Wise Ends Season with 12th-Place Finish in NAPA Toyota

// Courtesy : Autostock Images //

Homestead, FL – Josh Wise, driving the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, finished 12th place in the Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His rookie season was very respectable as it equated to one top-five and 13-top 25 finishes in just 17 starts. 

“I want to thank everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA AUTO PARTS for allowing me to race tonight,” said Wise who started the 200-lap event in 30th position. “It was really fun out there. All the guys on the NAPA team did a great job. The pit stops were great. I just apprecate the great effort from everyone. It means a lot.”

When the race got underway, all eyes were on points leader Clint Bowyer and his closest challenger, Carl Edwards, as only 56 points were separating the two competitors. As for Wise, his focus was on getting a solid finish and he wasted no time as he raced his way up to 24th position by the time his first pit stop took place under green on lap 55. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called for a wedge adjustment to help loosen up the NAPA Toyota, along with a four tire change and the addition of fuel. 

A tight-handling condition challenged the NAPA team throughout most of the race. The team’s second stop happened under caution on lap 67. A track bar change was made. Wise returned to the track in 24th position, one lap down, respectively. Fortunately, the driver was able to race his way back into contention when he was awarded his lap back after the fourth caution of the race was thrown on lap 101. This time Wolfe called for a spring rubber to be pulled from the left rear of the NAPA Toyota. A four tire change and more fuel was added. Wise returned to the track in 21st place and Kyle Busch was the new leader.

Back on the lead lap, Wise was on a mission to move up the scoring pylon and did so in impressive fashion. The green flag waved on lap 149 and Wise was in 20th place. Eight laps later, the rookie had driven his NAPA Toyota up to 11th place. Sprint Cup Series regular Ryan Newman proved to be Wise’s toughest competitor. They went head-to-head for over 40 laps. Newman eventually prevailed, but Wise was right on his bumper when the checkered flag waved.

“I told my guys we had nothing to lose,” added Wise. “I am not sure what I am going to be doing next season so I went for it. I appreciate all the hard work my NAPA guys put in this weekend. It paid off in a fun ride out there tonight.”

Winning the event was Carl Edwards. His effort to overtake Bowyer for the championship fell short by just 21 points as Bowyer was able to hold on by finishing fifth. Rounding out the top-10 were Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jason Leffler, Bowyer, Scott Wimmer, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelly Bires and Joey Logano.

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