One week after earning his first career top-10 at Talladega, Josh Wise will be forced to come back to earth. He has only one top-30 in 13 races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in the No. 98.
The restrictor-plate, superspeedways are places for dark horses to shine. Josh Wise joined Ryan Blaney and Sam Hornish Jr. this week as drivers who scored their first top-10 of the season. He finished 10th.
Josh Wise failed to race his way into the Daytona 500 this season. If he had done so, a result in the 20s would have been the most likely outcome. Wise finished between 20th and 28th in four plate races last year.
If Josh Wise is going to take inspiration from any race this spring, it should be the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. He scored his only top-30 finish on that flat bullring.
Josh Wise is showing remarkable consistency this season. He failed to advance into the Daytona 500, but ended every other race in the 30s and has an average result of 34.3.
If Josh Wise can earn a top-30 finish this week, it will equal success for this team. Driving the No. 98, Wise has only one such result in 12 starts; he finished 29th last year at Kentucky.
Josh Wise has been one of the most consistent drivers in the field this year. In five starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, he has a best result of 30th at Martinsville and a worst of 36th at Phoenix and Auto Club.
Josh Wise failed to qualify at Martinsville in his first attempt in 2009 driving for a relatively unknown team owned by Barry Haefele. His next two starts ended before the 100-lap mark, but he has been running at the end of his last four attempts and expects to do so again this week.
Josh Wise got progressively stronger on two-mile tracks last year. In three races at Auto Club and Michigan he finished better than he started each time.
Josh Wise has been on a downward trend at Phoenix in the past two years. He finished 35th there in spring 2013, was 36th that fall, and finished 41st last fall after failing to qualify in the spring.
In three previous starts at Las Vegas, Josh Wise’s best result was a 35th he scored in 2013. He was driving a Front Row Motorsports entry at the time.
Josh Wise has gotten progressively better in three attempts at Atlanta. In his first try he failed to qualify in 2012 driving for Front Row Motorsports. He made the show the following year with that same organization, but parked early with a vibration and was scored 41st. Last year he was running at the end of the race in 33rd.
Josh Wise has made 11 restrictor-plate, superspeedway starts in his career and has a best finish of 19th in the 2013 Aaron's 499.
Josh Wise will return to the cockpit of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing Chevrolet in 2015 and he could be a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners on several occasions.