By Kelly Crandall (CONCORD, N.C.) – On the short list of drivers expected to advance into Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race, @Josh_Wise was not included.
Not unless you checked the r/NASCAR and Dogecoin community. Weeks after pulling off the huge task of sponsoring Wise and the No. 98 Ford at Talladega, they pulled off another one. Friday night as Wise finished 18th in the Sprint Showdown, now in a Reddit.com and Dogecoin sponsored Chevrolet, he was voted into the Sprint All-Star Race via the Sprint Fan Vote. It will be Wise’s first appearance in the event.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, I guess. This is huge for me and our team,” Wise said of the situation. “Really it started with a 16-year-old kid posting something on Reddit.com about some good runs that we had had, and for whatever reason this huge, awesome community just got behind us, and everyone knows about them raising money to sponsor us at Talladega, and then it was on to the Fan Vote.
“I’m just super thankful to be a part of it, really. It’s been a pretty cool experience.”
Last month Reddit.com, said to see over 110 million people using the community, raised what equated to $55,000 through 67.8 million Dogecoins, which is digital cryptocurrency, to appear on the car for Talladega. Then they went about selling replica crew shirts in order to fund the car for Charlotte. Dogecoin is something that many in the NASCAR community had never heard about before it showed up on a racecar. Whereas majority of the Reddit.com users weren’t NASCAR educated, but thanks to one young fan, the boards have since lit up and created more fans.
How or why it’s happened this way, Wise doesn’t know, though he will admit that it’s a big deal not only for him but the sport. Creating not only new, young fans but doing so all over the world. And after he realized just how big it was, his mind started to wonder about the possibilities, even if he wasn’t sure if he should believe them.
The former open-wheel driver has just 79 career Sprint Cup starts under his belt. His career best finish is a 19th at Talladega last year; just one of two career top-20 finishes, the other ironically coming at Talladega just a few weeks ago.
“If you asked me two months ago, there’s just no way I would have thought this was possible. You kind of outlined a little bit of my path, and it was pretty awesome and exciting through my open wheel days, driving for A.J. Foyt and seeing success, and it’s been really, really hard since I’ve been out here” Wise said.
“And one of the challenges that I’ve faced is just gaining momentum through sponsorship and being in really good opportunities to be able to showcase what I think I can do, and so this is a big deal because obviously we have a lot of people behind us. Hopefully it helps us to build a better program here as we go forward.”
Wise revealed that he now often exchanges text messages with the young man who took it upon himself to start the movement. At first it was just for Talladega, though has since blown up into what occurred Friday at Charlotte. Later in the year the race fan will attend the Chicago race.
Wise was voted into the event over defending Sprint Fan Vote winner Danica Patrick, as well as high profile rookies Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson. The small Phil Parsons Racing team sits 36th in points and will now not only be apart of one of the biggest races of the year, but also will receive almost $70,000 just for starting.
“We’re able to buy those extra sticker tires on the weekend so that we feel like we have a car that’s going to be more competitive. I am stoked for just Phil Parsons Racing in general about this,” Wise said of the turn of events.
“Phil really took a leap of faith and just saying we’re racing this year, we’re going to do whatever it takes to race, and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been able to really have some really speed at some tracks, some tough tracks, Bristol, Darlington we had a strong run at Fontana until we blew a tire. So obviously all that little bit of funding helps. But I think probably what’s more valuable than that is the exposure that’s coming from it.”
After the news was announced the r/NASCAR community exploded with messages such as, “WE DID IT,” and “HE MADE IT.”
“The DOGECAR IS IN IT!”
“I can’t [expletive] believe it. We voted Josh in!”
The 30th annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is Saturday night. Wise will be amongst the 22 drivers who will race for the $1 million bragging rights.
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