Apparently, the rules aren’t the same for a supposed trailblazer and a regular old owner.
The trailblazer in this case is Jennifer Jo Cobb, whose dustup with 2nd Chance Motorsports owner Rick Russell over whether or not to start and park at Bristol in March led to her walking away from the car just before the race started.
“I have made a commitment to my sponsors, my fans and NASCAR that I’m not a start-and-park driver,” Cobb told SceneDaily.com at the time. “I am really serious about this and I have to really work hard to prove to people that I’m serious about this.”
Cobb made a bold move, one that earned her the respect of many. Only thing is, when you take that kind of a stand, you can never, ever be a part of a start-and-park effort in any form or fashion.
At Bristol Russell claimed he was up against the wall financially and just couldn’t afford to wear out his engine or wreck.
Subsequently, driving her own car, Cobb ran 42 laps at Darlington (clutch) and 43 laps at Darlington (axle), running just a handful more laps than many of the start-and-parkers. Call those races whatever you want.
But there’s no doubt about what happened at Chicago. With Cobb having landed a ride for the Truck race at Kansas, Rick Crawford stepped into her Nationwide car at Chicago and promptly ran just 22 laps before leaving the race due to the dreaded “vibration,” which in start-and-park land translates to “Take the money and run.”
Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing started and parked at Chicago because they wanted to conserve funds to live another day. In other words, exactly the spot Russell says he was in at Bristol. What makes Cobb more special than Russell?
Cobb has one career top-10 finish, at the truck opener in Daytona. Other than that, her biggest career accomplishment was playing Ginger when the SPEED Truck TV crew did its “Gilligan’s Island” Halloween theme at Talladega last year. She signed to appear on a pilot for a motorsports-themed TV drama. And all of that is fine. Just as Chad McCumbee learned by playing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in “3,” there’s a lot of ways to jumpstart a NASCAR career, and it’s not all about wheel-turning.
Cobb knows how to play the game. But considering what she’s had to do recently, it strikes me curious that she couldn’t have any empathy for Russell’s position at Bristol just a few months ago.
Walking away from Russell’s car earned Cobb quite the soapbox, reminiscent of Michael McDowell’s fame following his qualifying wreck at Texas in 2008.
Was Cobb really that offended at Russell? Or did she merely see an opportunity?