Cobb makes NASCAR history in 'Driven 2 Honor' debut
February 23, 2011
By Tim Hipps
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 23, 2011 -- Jennifer Jo Cobb posted the highest finish by a female in NASCAR truck-racing history while debuting her "Driven 2 Honor" Ford at Daytona International Speedway, Fla., and treating two female servicemembers to a VIP weekend.
Cobb drove her No. 10 Ford to a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 18, at Daytona International Speedway.
"This is all about honoring women in the military," said Cobb, 37, of Kansas City. "I've been thinking about it all day."
Cobb teamed with the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers to create a NASCAR VIP Weekend for female troops as a salute to women in the military.
She will play host to two female Soldiers and their guests at each of the next four events on the racing circuit: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Bristol, Tenn., and California. The Family and MWR Command will provide a $600 gift card for each winner to help cover travel and lodging expenses.
Family and MWR eligible patrons can visit www.mwrpromotions.com to self-nominate or nominate female military personnel for the NASCAR VIP experience with Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing.
Michael Waltrip paid another tribute to the military by winning the race that night in the No. 15 Wounded Warrior Project Toyota.
Driving with a backup motor near the rear of the field for much of the night, Cobb managed to miss two massive late-race wrecks that involved 24 trucks beneath a full moon at Daytona International Speedway.
"It was wild every time there was a crash," Cobb said. The truck is affectionately nicknamed "Bruce" by Cobb and her team, in honor of their our hauler driver who passed away last December. "I felt like he was riding with me, protecting me."
Cobb was far enough behind the lead pack to stop in time to miss the final 10-truck crash that forced the chase to be red-flagged to clean the track, setting up a two-lap dash to the finish.
"The track was just covered. I was thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, there's no way I'm getting through this,'" said Cobb, who credited spotter Keith Barnwell for helping her dodge the carnage. "When you're in sync like that, it definitely helps because you're making split-second decisions. When you have someone in your ear seconding what you're thinking, that's chemistry, and that's how these things happen."
For the final restart, Cobb was sitting in second place. She finished behind Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Clay Rogers, Miguel Paludo and Kyle Busch - and one spot ahead of Jeffrey Earnhardt.
Earlier in the day, Cobb failed to qualify for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 on Saturday.
"I came into this so deflated after not making the Nationwide race," said Cobb, who made amends in the truck. "I don't think there was a dry eye in our pit stall - just such an accomplishment after such a bad day on the other side of the garage. We are small but we're mighty. "
Although this one included two multi-truck pileups, Cobb has been in scarier races.
"There have been some pretty wild ones," she said. "I've had a guy upside down on my roof before."
She had not, however, tasted this much success in a NASCAR event.
"I spent 10 years in NASCAR's grassroots level, so it's definitely the most fun, most rewarding race I've ever been in," Cobb said. "That's for sure."
And she did it for female troops everywhere.
"I just feel like it's so important to honor them," Cobb said. "I think about them, and I think, 'Oh, yeah, they deserve some 'You go, girls also.'"