Josh Wise, a 20-year old rising star in open-wheel racing, has agreed to race for Tony Stewart, the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion and a past USAC Triple Crown and Indy Racing League champion. The Riverside, CA driver received a telephone call...
Josh Wise, a 20-year old rising star in open-wheel racing, has agreed to race for Tony Stewart, the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion and a past USAC Triple Crown and Indy Racing League champion. The Riverside, CA driver received a telephone call from Stewart Tuesday night, December 2 and accepted Stewart's offer to join the Stewart Racing Team. The new Stewart Midget team will compete in the full 2004 USAC National Midget Series on both paved and dirt tracks. There were 28 USAC National Midget races run during 2003. Stewart will be assembling team components and crew in coming weeks.
Stewart currently owns a two-car USAC National Sprint Car Series team with 2003 team driver Cory Kruseman, of Ventura, CA, signed to drive on paved and dirt tracks again in 2004. J. J. Yeley, driver of Stewart's second sprint car and USAC 2003 Triple Crown champion, has accepted a stock car ride for 2004 from Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart's NASCAR car owner. Dave Steele will drive Stewart's second sprint car on paved tracks in 2004. No driver has been named yet for the second sprint car on dirt tracks. Stewart, who owns the World of Outlaws entry driven by Missouri driver Danny Lasoski, also is part owner with Bob East of a USAC Silver Crown car that won the 2002-03 S/C championships.
Wise, who will turn 21 on February 7, enjoyed his career-year to date during 2003. He made seven USAC National Midget appearances and won the prestigious USAC Belleville (KS) Nationals 40-lap feature in his Wise Racing Beast/Ed Pink Chevy on Saturday, August 9. Wise also won two USAC Western States Midget features at Bakersfield Speedway in 12 W/S starts. He set four fast qualifying times and finished second in final USAC W/S Midget points.
In two USAC W/S 360-sprint car starts in Ted Finkenbinder's No. 3F Chevy from Fairfield, CA, Wise finished a close second in a 40-lap main at Irwindale Speedway on October 4. Additionally, Wise won a June 19 SCRA 410-sprint car feature at Perris, CA, and the Friday 30-lap and Saturday 40-lap August 22-23 360-sprint car Nationals at Perris. He drove the No. 19s Mike Sala Chevy, out of central California, for all three-sprint car triumphs.
Wise won the 1999 USAC-TQ Midget driving championship and rookie of the year honors as well while driving for his grandfather, Charlie Wise and parents, Eric and Kris. He began racing USAC Midgets in 2000 and in 15 starts, Josh won three-times and finished 11th in points. In 2001 he ran 24 races and had one victory, one second, four thirds, and 14 top tens to rank second in final W/S Midget point standings. Josh set two fast times in time trials and captured the 2001 USAC W/S Midget most improved driver award. During 2002, the popular driver/college student raced 15-times, won twice and set four fast qualifying times en route to a sixth place in final points.
In other southern California racing news, the IRL has moved the annual "spring training" session at California Speedway, in Fontana, where it has been held for the past two years, to Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida January 27-29. The second IRL practice session will be held again in Arizona at Phoenix International Raceway from February 10-12. An IRL announcement said it will use the Homestead and Phoenix tracks this year because both tracks have made major track configuration changes with the past year that affect racing. Homestead, formerly a flat track, is now a banked track. PIR has moved the second turn crash-wall out, allowing more racing surface. Additionally, the Homestead and Phoenix races are the opening races of 2004 on February 29 and March 21 respectively.
"Kaptain" Robbie Knievel, 42-year old son of legendary motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel, came to Irwindale Speedway on Thursday, December 4 and made a record motorcycle jump in the track's east parking lot. He used launch and receiving ramps and cleared 150-feet and 10,318 dish-plates, which had been washed on site by a crew using using one 25-oz bottle of Dawn dish-washing liquid.
Dishes were stacked in seven 120-foot-long dish racks. The jump, titled "Dawn goes the distance", was taped for a Dawn Liquid TV commercial. Knievel, and the paid extras in the portable grandstand, enjoyed his first jump on his 500-cc Honda so much that he made an equally successful second jump. Video coverage of the jump made all the local and major network 4, 5, 6 and 11:00PM news shows that evening.