MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING CONGRATULATES JOSH WISE ON USAC CHAMPIONSHIP AND WELCOMES HIM TO THE ORGANIZATION PHOENIX, Ariz. (November 13, 2006) - Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. announced today that Josh Wise, who was crowned the 2006 USAC ...
MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING CONGRATULATES JOSH WISE ON USAC CHAMPIONSHIP AND WELCOMES HIM TO THE ORGANIZATION
PHOENIX, Ariz. (November 13, 2006) - Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. announced today that Josh Wise, who was crowned the 2006 USAC National Sprint Car Series champion on Saturday night, will drive in a variety of series for the organization in 2007.
Wise ended his USAC season with a win in the Western World Championships feature Saturday night at Manzanita Speedway.
"Michael Waltrip Racing is proud to be associated with Josh Wise not only for his ability to win championships, but also because of his humble personality," Waltrip said. "We have already tested Josh in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck a couple of times and have been impressed with his ability to get around the track and provide input to the team."
"We have plans to keep Josh busy in the off-season to help prepare him for the 2007 season," Waltrip continued. "Josh will run in a variety of venues for Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA as well as the short track racing that he has brought him so much success."
Representatives from Michael Waltrip Racing were on hand to commend the Riverside, Calif. native's accomplishments as he celebrated his third USAC title and second National Championship.
"Josh is a quality individual from a quality family and we knew it the moment we met him," said Ty Norris, General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. "I was able to watch him race for the first time this weekend and it's easy to see why Tony Stewart believes Josh is the next great driver to come through the USAC ranks.We're proud to have a two-time USAC championin our camp."
"The USAC championships are something that I always wanted to accomplish," said Wise, who defeated the defending series champion - Levi Jones - by 88 markers. "When I came back to the Midwest it was my goal to win a championship in all three divisions. I won the Midget championship last year and came really close to the Silver Crown, but we had some mechanical problems that held us back from it. I really wanted to win the Sprint Car Championship this year to kind of complete that goal."
It was also the third USAC National car owner title for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises. Stewart attended the event and joinedWiseand his team manager Bobby Barth on the champion podium for the celebration.
"Without Tony, I wouldn't be where I'm at," said Wise, who is a two-time Belleville Midget Nationals champion (2003, 2006), 1999 USCA TQ Midget Car Series champion and 2005 USAC National Midget Car Series champion. "He took a shot in the dark on me. I was living on the West Coast with my parents and racing my family car. I got a call from him out of the blue one day to come out to the Midwest and drive for him. The experience I have gotten and the success that I have had with his team has been huge for me."
Now, Wise prepares to make the move to Michael Waltrip Racing.
"I really want to perform for everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing," Wise said. "I'm ready to get started. I've already tested a NASCAR Craftsman Truck twice. When we tested Chicago not long ago, I had only run an ARCA car twice. The first time I didn't run many laps and the other time was on a half-mile track. I was nervous about the first truck test because it was a fast track, but the guys made me feel real comfortable and we had a lot of fun. Adapting to a truck is going to be a different challenge because of the principles and the characteristics of the way they drive."
The 23-year-old anticipates next season and his growth with Michael Waltrip Racing, which is slated to field three full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entries and one NASCAR Busch Series entry next season with Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and David Reutimann handling the driving chores. Wise has those drivers to rely on for advice as he gets ready for next season.
"The two tests that I've done, David has been a huge help to me," said Wise. "I can go to him and just ask. I can say to David, 'I'm doing this and is this right or is this wrong?' He can send me down the right path. Having each one of them to talk to will be a huge asset for me."