Why Josh Wise’s Move to Premium Motorsports is a Step Backward


It was announced today that Josh Wise has officially joined Premium Motorsports, according to the team’s official Twitter. Wise, who scored his first top-10 Sunday at Talladega, had driven for Phil Parsons Racing since the beginning of 2013.

Now it’s no secret that Wise isn’t exactly among the sport’s elite. The majority of his Sprint Cup career has been spent behind the wheel of underfunded teams lacking sponsors, like PPR and Front Row Motorsports. His shining moment happened a year ago, when fans from reddit.com united to adorn his No. 98 entry with Dogecoin livery, which is a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin. The campaign put Wise in the national spotlight as well as earned him several fans and a spot in the 2014 Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte.

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However, as a driver for a team that was steadily, slowly growing, Wise will instead be a part of a lesser team that has been plagued by issues in 2015. Owned by Jay Robinson, the team has fielded entries for Brendan Gaughan, Brian Scott, and Mike Wallace in 2015, although that’s when they’re able to qualify for the race. Although Mike Wallace’s No. 66 has since been shuttered, the 62 of Scott and Gaughan is still showing up and attempting to qualify.

Wise isn’t given enough credit as a driver. Keep in mind that he was once employed by JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, sharing a ride with Danica Patrick. Not only did Wise outperform Patrick, he managed to keep his equipment in better shape than her. But instead of a promotion to a decent Sprint Cup seat he was relegated to a side ride at Front Row Motorsports.

But with PPR, he managed to make the most of his situation. More often than not, he’s brought his equipment home in one piece and running. He doesn’t exceed his equipment’s capabilities, and he keeps a cool head behind the wheel. Plus, unlike Premium, his DNQ’s were at a minimum. All of these are driving pros. On the issue of cons, well, Wise’s cons are few and far between.

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He’s still young as a Sprint Cup driver, so to doom him to such a beleaguered team that has had nothing but trouble, that diminishes his stock as a driver. Granted, PPR owner Phil Parsons is well within his right to cash in and sell the No. 98. But if that’s going to be the case then Wise needs to be holding out for a better team.

That’s not to say hold out for Roush-Fenway or Stewart-Haas, because that’d be a long wait. Rather, with the issues that the FRM is having regarding drivers for the No. 34, put Wise in the seat. The FRM of 2015 is eons better than the FRM Wise left after 2013, especially the No. 34 team. That’s just one of many options for Wise’s career.

Ultimately, time will tell how Wise will fare at Premium Motorsports. He may be the missing link needed for the team to grow. However, based on the ill fortunes of Wallace, Tanner Berryhill, Gaughan, and Scott, it’s looking like Wise may be taking a step backward.

What’s your take on Wise’s dilemma? Do you think he deserves a second chance with a better team? Do you think he belongs with Premium Motorsports? Weigh in below.

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