Coming into the 2017 NASCAR season, a lot of the talk around the garage was how established veterans Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle were gone from full-time competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
One name that slipped under the radar was Josh Wise.
Wise has 156 career starts in NASCAR's premier series, recording a top-10 finish at Talladega Superspeedway in 2015 for Phil Parsons Racing. However, last season did not go as planned for Wise, fighting and clawing just to qualify for 28 events for The Motorsports Group.
It turned out 2016 was the California native's last full year as a stock car driver.
Prior to the season-opening Daytona 500, Wise teamed up with Chip Ganassi Racing with the goal of coaching up-and-coming drivers Brennan Poole and Tyler Reddick. He would also be in the corners of Cup Series stars Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson as they are both in pursuit of the organization's first title at the sport's top level.
"It wasn't like an overnight decision or anything," he continues. "For the last two years, I definitely was open to and trying to strategize what my next steps were going to be professionally. Whether it would be out of the car within motorsports [or] out of motorsports. It hasn't been like an abrupt transition for me by any means, I was ready for it. Last year before going into the season, I knew it was going to be my last season unless some circumstances drastically changed as far as getting a competitive ride and whatnot.
"As you age, you just see things more clearly," he said. "I realized a handful of years ago that I loved racing. I still love racing. I haven't driven a racecar since Homestead last year. If I had the opportunity to do that on some sort of fun level where I'm not making a living at it, I'll do that if I'm compelled to."
"I guess the underlining theme is that I was mentally ready for something else. It was just a matter of the right doors and opportunity and pursuing that path."
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