The NASCAR driver talks disappointment of the NASCAR rejection; Details costs of running small Truck racing team
Last month, Jennifer Jo Cobb signed a sponsor and announced plans to make her first NASCAR Cup Series appearance via Talladega Superspeedway. A paint scheme was released, dates were announced and entries were submitted.
The veteran NASCAR driver was shocked when he entry was denied.
She has 15 consecutive years of experience in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including 31 starts. That’s in addition to her 219 starts in the NASCAR Truck Series.
Six years ago, Cobb was approved to run in the NASCAR Cup Series, at every track. When she was approved, it was a quick phone call as the series didn’t have a committee at that time.
She was going to race with Rick Ware Racing. Abruptly, the team was informed that Cobb was not approved to compete at the Cup level.
Jennifer Jo Cobb shocked that she couldn’t run in the NASCAR Cup Series
A day before Cobb was denied, via a press release, she released a promo video for her upcoming Cup debut.
“Obviously, I’m still an active driver in the Truck Series. So, it probably wouldn’t be wise for me to say everything that I want to say,” Jennifer Jo Cobb told Claire Lang via Sirius NASCAR Radio.
“But, the excuses that have been given don’t appear to add up. Because they don’t apply to any other driver. I just want to be judged by the same criteria that every other 21 year old cup series rookie has been judged by. And I don’t believe that has happened.”
“If you look at stats, almost 29,000 laps in NASCAR, over 15 years. And I’ve completed over 70% of every lap attempted.”
She added, “I wasn’t given any parameters of how I can gain that approval.”
Bodine is in charge of the committee that generates approval for new Cup drivers.
“Brett called and he cited a rule. He said if you’re inactive for more than a year… I pulled over because I really thought he was talking to somebody else. I was like, ‘Do you think that I haven’t been in a race car for more than a year? How can I be inactive when I’ve never run a cup race?’ “
Brett meant inactive Cup driver. While Cobb was approved to run the Cup Series six years ago. That approval expired after a year of not running in the series.
“Brett was definitely more gracious than the subsequent conversations. And I definitely don’t want to talk about those.”
She asked, “Why was this not presented to me until two days after the announcement? So many things were funneled through their system and approved. My FIA licence came in the mail. The cup driver agreement was signed.”
“Many drivers have been approved for the Cup Series with an equal to or less record than I have. Please just judge me in the same way that you would anyone else.”
Cobb owns a small NASCAR Truck Series team
NASCAR cited performance in prior races as the reason for disapproval.
Cobb explained, “When you got a $400,000 team up against a $4 million dollar team and Kyle Busch is on the track, lapping everybody. It’s hard to finish on the lead lap.”
“I had a winning crew chief call me. He said, ‘I’m outraged and it just makes me want to quit. I can’t believe this is what they can do to people.’ “
“If they would have contacted me before the press release, it would have been so much different. If they would have given me a path, like they give every other driver, it would have been so much different.”
“I’m racing on 80-90 lap tires, in a truck that’s more than 10 years old. That is a heck of a lot harder to drive than the Porsches that are running 1.5 seconds faster than us.”
“Most tracks in the Truck Series, you’re allowed four sets of tires. They’re $2,500 a set.”
Every team in the truck series basically runs crate engines. So, the playing field is level, for the most part. But, there’s more to speed than an engine.
“But, there’s a $5,000 exhaust system that will go a little bit faster.”
Cobb explained, “Racing during COVID times is a lot more expensive. I could get tires from other teams after practice that only had like 3 laps on them. I only had to buy one set of tires. That doesn’t happen any more. My tire budget has doubled. I can’t see as many sponsorships because we don’t have hospitality.”
If Jennifer Jo Cobb gets approved to run a NASCAR Cup Series event, Fastener Supply Company would still like to be an associate sponsor.
“I’m going to double my efforts to find more sponsors to buy more tires and have better trucks. To have better performance. Then, I’m going to apply and go through the process.”
“I would have attempted a cup race many years ago, if I could have done it as a man, or anonymously. Believe it or not, I’m not comfortable with this much attention.”
She concluded, “Do they want a 47 year old woman without any money behind her grabbing the headlines of the next female or the first female since Danica? Is that really what they’re doing with their diversity program? I’m not saying that’s a fact. But, your mind goes to so many places.”