Danica’s decision leaves Wise with an uncertain future

Credit: Grant Halveston/Getty Images for NASCAR

The decision for Danica Patrick to move to Nationwide full-time is a great decision for her personally, but what about Josh Wise, the driver with whom she has been splitting the No. 7 JR Motorsports car? Essentially, Wise is left without a ride headed into 2012.

In the 2011 season, with a goal of maintaining a top-30 starting spot, Wise went above and beyond that. He has three top-10 finishes in the No. 7 car this season, with a high finish of 4th at Iowa.

Many in the sport this move coming. When he signed on with JR Motorsports, Wise was also aware that Patrick could possibly move to NASCAR full-time. Being a part of uncertain times in nothing new for Wise; in his five-year career, he has worked with 11 different team owners.

In an interview with David Caraviello of NASCAR.com Odd Man Out, Tony Eury Jr. (who is the crew chief and co-owner of the No. 7 JR Motorsports car) spoke high praise for Wise. Eury said, “Josh can definitely help any race team, especially if they want to be consistent and run for the points.That's how we kind of got hooked up with him. He drove for a lot of start-and-parks, and he's good on equipment. He doesn't tear up a lot of stuff, he's going to be consistent, and he just hasn't had the opportunity where he can just get in a car and let it all hang out, and not have to worry about finding a ride or looking for a ride or keeping it for the next week. He's done really well in our car. We picked up a ton of points with him last year. We were 15 points on the bubble, and came back to finish [17th] in the points. A lot of it was because of his races."

Throughout his 13 starts in the No. 7 car this season, Wise has an average finish of 15th, but the finishes do not reflect how well he has been running. Up front and battling with the leaders at times, Wise is clearly a great driver. "That's Josh Wise. That's the way he drives," Eury said. "He's very consistent, he's got a very good arc into the corner. The only thing I've been preaching at him is, be a little bit more aggressive on these restarts ... and he did all that at Iowa. He's very knowledgeable about the car. He test drove for a year and a half under the radar with Michael Waltrip when the [new Sprint Cup car] was coming. So he's got plenty of experience; he's got a good feel for the car."

As for now, Wise has plans to work with Key Motorsports for the remainder of the year; future plans beyond that are to be determined.

"I don't really have any long-term direction. I don't even know what I'm doing three weeks from now, let alone next year," Wise said in speaking to Caraviello. "I think the biggest challenge for me in all this is, I've won and I've been the best guy in everything I've ever driven up to now, you know? The fact that I haven't been able to secure a full-time ride and be that guy at this level just motivates me even more. Because I want to be that, and I know I can. I'll keep plugging away until that right opportunity comes.

Whatever lies ahead, Wise has the talent; all he needs is a ride.
Danica’s decision leaves Wise with an uncertain future Danica’s decision leaves Wise with an uncertain future Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, September 02, 2011 Rating: 5