Josh Wise Takes it a Week at a Time

When you think about the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, Josh Wise is probably not the first driver who comes to your mind.

Danica Patrick drove the car for 12 races in 2011, garnering most of the attention, while Wise piloted it for 14–finishing as high as fourth at Iowa in August. Patrick will drive full-time in 2012 for JR Motorsports, which means Wise, 29, had to go looking for another ride. He will drive the No. 40 car for The Motorsports Group (TMG), formerly Key Motorsports, in 2012–where he spent a portion of 2011.

Wise has bounced around the Nationwide Series since 2007, scoring six top 10s in 77 races. His best opportunities to date came in 2010 and ’11 while driving for JR Motorsports. Throw in the fact that he has driven for Tony Stewart in USAC, Darrell Waltrip in the truck series and he has done some testing for MWR at the Cup level, and you might think he would be bitter about not attracting a sponsor which would lead to a full-time shot in the Nationwide Series, but that isn’t the case.

“As much as I would love to have a big sponsor, I think God has me right where he wants me,” Wise told me in a phone interview on Monday, Feb. 20. “So, my focus has turned to making the best of where God has me every day.”

He speaks highly about the opportunity JR Motorsports gave him though to compete in top notch equipment for portions of two seasons.

“They gave me a really great opportunity,” Wise told me. “Obviously, that keeps you in the mix and leads to more opportunities. So, that whole deal is something I’m really grateful for. And, you know, Iowa being our best finish was obviously the highlight of the opportunity there. At Iowa we had a great car and everything just fell into place for us. And I think we had a car that, if we had the right track position and if things fell our way, we could have had a chance to win that race–which was cool to leave there knowing.”

Tony Eury Jr. was Wise’s crew chief at JR Motorsports and as the 2011 season drew to a close, he was rooting for Wise to get another opportunity somewhere else.

“It’s been great for our company to have somebody like Josh,” Eury Jr. is quoted as saying in an article on “We’ve been fortunate enough to keep him as long as we have. But you hope somebody in the garage would notice him enough to where he can get a full-time ride, because he deserves to be here, and deserves another run.”

It hasn’t happened yet.

Wise will be with TMG in 2012, where he says owner Curtis Key plans to run the No. 40 car all season for entire races (rather than it being a start and park situation), but Wise knows that if another driver can bring much needed sponsorship, he would step out of the car on any given week.

“I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to just taking it a week at a time,” Wise told me. “And even a lot of my stuff at JR Motorsports was a week at a time–especially my first year there. I didn’t really know for sure if I was going to be in the car [on any given] weekend for my first year.

“So, it’s actually kind of easy to go at it with that mentality and just leave it in God’s hands. You make your best effort and it’s going to fall how it’s going to fall.”

Lee Warren has interviewed and written a number of features about NASCAR drivers over the years, including Trevor Bayne, Bobby Labonte, Sam Hornish Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Morgan Shepherd, David Reutimann, Brad Coleman and others. He is currently working on a NASCAR devotional book for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, due out in the winter of 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @leewarren.

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