Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Top-10 Finish Escapes Wise After Collected in Accident at Phoenix

// Courtesy : Autostock Images //

Avondale, AZ (November 8, 2008) – Josh Wise was on the path to a Top-10 NASCAR Nationwide Series finish, but was forced to settle for a 23rd-place finish after his No. 00NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry suffered damage on a restart at lap 84.

“They were stacking up in front of me and the No. 64 car ran into the back of me,” Wise said. “We all got bunched up and I had no where to go and slammed into the back of the No. 20 car. I wasn’t sure if something broke in the rear-end or if the right rear tire was flat. We were lucky because it was the right rear. The guys made a solid stop changing tires and pulling out the fender to get me back out on the track in good shape.”

The 25-year-old made an impressive qualifying run Saturday morning before the start of the 201-lap event earning a top-10 (10th-place) starting position in his first time racing a stock car at Phoenix International Raceway. As the green flag waved for the Hefty Odor Block 200, Wise maintained a top-14 spot while he was battling tight handling conditions.

“The NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota was tight in the center and on throttle,” Wise said.

During the first caution of the race at lap 22, Wise entered pit road in 11th-place for tires and adjustments. On Lap 27, Wise restarted 14th and his teammate David Reutimann was one position ahead of him. Nine laps later Reutimann hit the outside retaining wall hard enough to cause steering problems for his No. 99 Best Western Toyota and a flat tire that brought out the next caution.

On the restart at lap 44, Wise was 12th with his eyes set on the top 10. While running in 11th-place on lap 64, another caution occurred allowing the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PA RT S Toyota team to work on the car. Wise had just reported that he needed to be freer up off throttle when the caution came out.

The Riverside , Calif. native went to work on lap 70 still holding onto his top-15 position when the caution flag waved four laps later. As the field took the green on lap 78, multiple cars ahead of Wise were involved in an accident. As the dust settled, Wise was ninth and he needed to get through the center a little bit freer. 
On the next restart at lap 84, Wise fell victim when several cars ahead of him stacked up and he ran into the back of the No. 20 car of Joey Logano and the No. 64 car of David Stremme slammed into the back of his No. 00 NAPA AUTO PA RT S Toyota Camry.

The damage was severe enough to take Wise out of contention for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. Carl Edwards won the event and is in mathematical contention of defending his Nationwide Series title. Points leader Clint Bowyer is 56 points ahead of Edwards.

Denny Hamlin finished second, Kevin Harvick was third, followed by Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch rounding out the top-five.

Next week, Wise is back behind the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday, November 15th on ESPN 2 begins at 4 p.m. ET and 4:30 p.m. ET on MRN Radio.

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