Josh Wise has only raced Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway once before, but it's already one of his favorite tracks. After last year's visit to the 1.99-mile road course, the driver of the No. 35 MDS Transport Ford found it reminded him of his dirt-track racing days. Like on a dirt track, the winding course allows more leeway for overdriving the car and being more aggressive.
Wise was an eager student of the raceway last year, taking more than three pages of notes to help him in his return. He'll look forward to applying what he's learned this weekend for Sunday's Toyota-Save Mart 350, a 218.9-mile (350 kilometer) trek through the hills of California wine country.
Wise has one Cup start at Sonoma - a 30th-place finish in 2012.
Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise heading to Sonoma:
"Road course racing is my favorite thing to do. I don't really have any road racing background or experience but I truly enjoy it and look forward to it and the challenge that it is. Sonoma last year was probably one of the most fun races I've ever run. I didn't do very well - I think I finished 30th - but I learned a lot. I took three and a half pages of notes that I wrote down from there as far as shift points and things that I felt like I learned during the race. I'm super excited to go back there.
"Keeping notes like that is big for me. I try to get as much information documented as I can every week just because it's easy to forget little things that you learn and that information is valuable. It'll be big for me having those notes going back, to be able to unload off the truck and be fast and be able to give feedback for the racecar right away.
"For me, it's the physicality of road course racing, both while you're racing people but also just in driving the car. When we go to the larger tracks and even some of the short track ovals, you can drive the car hard but you still have to be within some parameters. If you push too hard, you actually slow the car down. But on the road courses, those parameters are a lot broader. So you can really overdrive the car, which caters a little more to my dirt-racing background."