Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
NASCAR Driver Q & A · Summer Bedgood · Wednesday April 28, 2010
Danica Patrick isn’t the only woman trying her luck within NASCAR’s top three series this year. Jennifer Jo Cobb isn’t just a full-time driver in the Camping World Truck Series, either; in the offseason, she bought Circle Bar’s former No. 10 operation to become the only woman owner/driver in the sport today.
How is Cobb, a rookie, transitioning to her role behind the scenes as she looks to be more competitive behind the wheel? Our Summer Dreyer asks about her dual role, finds out some plans for the future, and even uncovers a little addictive shopping habit in the latest edition of Beyond The Cockpit.
Summer Dreyer: You drive the No. 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Ford in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. How did that deal come about, and do you have funding for the entire season?
Jennifer Jo Cobb: We bought the assets from Circle Bar Racing. James Buescher drove the No. 10 last year and then, when he switched teams they sold everything and I just happened to be the one who bought it. It is under the JJC Racing name, so I’m actually the owner and the driver. We are fully funded through 2010 to run all 25 NCWTS races.
I ran one ARCA race at Daytona, and that’s the only ARCA race that I have scheduled. I plan on running about six Nationwide races if all goes well.
Dreyer: Where do you hope that this gets you in the future? Are you looking towards the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, or are you looking towards moving into the Nationwide Series when you can?
Cobb: What our goals would be is to win Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2010, and then a full schedule for Rookie of the Year in the Nationwide Series in 2011. Then, eventually, we’d like to have an entry in the Cup Series.
We are nowhere near saying we are ready to accomplish those goals yet — that’s just what the goal is. That’s not an announcement, that’s not saying it’s going to happen. That’s certainly what we’re looking towards accomplishing. I believe it’ll happen, it’s just a matter of when will it happen.
Dreyer: In a couple weeks here, the Truck Series is actually going to be racing at your home track of Kansas Speedway. You have raced there several times in the past. What’s that like whenever you get to race there in front of a home crowd? Is it more comfortable there racing at a place you know more so than anywhere else?
Cobb: It’s something really special for me. It’s also the first race that we’ve had a primary sponsorship this season. I’m really excited to announce that Mark One Electric is our primary sponsor for the O’Reilly 250 on May 2nd at the Kansas Speedway. Several other smaller sponsorships have also come to fruition: We have a partnership with Metro Ford, as well as Big Bob’s Outlet. We even have done some fun promotions with Rajeunir Medical Spa and Time Warner Cable. It’s definitely different. It’s definitely special.
Our guest list goes from four people to about 48 people, so it’s really cool. They don’t know this yet, but they’re all getting a bonus because we got a sponsor for this race. I’m taking them out for a night on the town in Kansas City because the schedule allows us to kind of have that flexibility. They’ll come in a night early. It’s definitely a special place. I don’t want it just to be special for me, I want the entire crew to feel that. I think we’re going to have a great weekend.
Dreyer: What’s your opinion on female drivers in NASCAR and, more specifically, Danica Patrick? Do you think she brought more attention to female drivers in the sport, or do you think she overshadowed them a little bit?
Cobb: I’ve been asked about Danica a lot this year. I’m pretty neutral about the situation. I’ve been on my path for 18 years, trying to make it into the big leagues of auto racing with the support of some great sponsors along the way but no one big national company.
I took a much different path than she has had. I think the exposure she’s gotten us can be good, but I think what happens when TV focuses on just one driver on a broadcast, that’s not good for anybody. I just hope that we can be impartial for even her own sake in the future. I’m sure when she’s learning and struggling, she doesn’t want all that attention on her. We’re all drivers. We’re not female drivers; we’re just drivers who happen to be female.
Dreyer: So you’re not really the typical female driver that screams “girl power!” and almost hopes that the girls are able to overshadow the guys a little bit. Do you actually just prefer to be seen as a good driver, not just a good female driver?
Cobb: I have no desire to be a female driver or to be one of those drivers that takes the spotlight and overshadows everybody. I want my fair share for my sponsors’ sake, and I want to shut up the naysayers who think that women can’t drive race cars. Other than that, I’m in this sport because I love it, and I have a very high respect and appreciation for it and its history. If that history needs to be changed and there needs to be some female champions, then that will happen.
Otherwise, male or female, the people that are competing at the top of this sport are people who have worked extremely hard for it and deserve it. It’s as hard for men as it is for women. There are just as many challenges.
Dreyer: How did you get started racing?
Cobb: My dad has raced since I was three years old, and I grew up in the sport. I grew up watching him, and at some point I transferred from wanting to be a ballerina to wanting to be a race car driver just by watching my dad and him becoming my hero. [But] nobody really believed that would happen. They just thought it was a phase and, obviously, 18 or 19 years later, it’s not a phase.
Dreyer: Your stomping grounds would have been the Kansas City area, right?
Cobb: I started racing in 1981 at Lakeside Speedway, which is just about four miles up the street from the Kansas Speedway. It was asphalt when I started racing there, but now it’s a great little dirt track that my dad still races at to this day.
For 10-plus years, I raced in the Kansas City area at Lakeside and I-70 Speedway. Those were asphalt, half-mile ovals; one was a flat track that was Lakeside, and one was a very high-banked track which is like I-70. It gave me a very well-rounded experience on asphalt surfaces.
Dreyer: What would it be like to win at the Kansas Speedway, and do you feel like you can do that?
Cobb: There’s an awesome article on the Kansas Speedway website about what it would mean for me to win. The question, ‘Can I do that?’ — absolutely. One day, I will do that. Is next Sunday, May 2nd, the day? I just don’t know about that. We are trained to build and grow our team and we definitely have our sights on victory, but we understand that this is a very competitive sport. It’s extremely tough, there are a lot of veterans. At this point, I’m here to learn, and then prove and grow everything each week. I think being respectful to my competitors, being respectful to my equipment, giving my sponsors a good showing, keeping my head on straight, and proving [myself] each and every time, eventually we will be in the hunt for a win.
Dreyer: You have really taken a hold of and embraced social networking. You have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. What’s it like to be able to interact with fans on that level, and what do you enjoy about being able to integrate social networking into your career and being able to see what fans and other people have to say?
Cobb: It’s been so awesome with social networking. The way I grew up with racing, the fans are everything. The fact that someone would even come up and want my autograph is extremely flattering. To have the strangers basically become friends, and fans have really been fans who become friends. The interaction happens so quick sometimes. It’s really an incredible experience and I love it.
I will say it’s kind of hurting my time productivity because I answer everything myself. It weighs like a weight on my shoulders that right now I have 415 friend requests on Facebook but I’ve maxed out at 5,000 friends and I can’t accept anymore. So instead of just ignoring it, I’m like, “I’ve got to send every one of those people a message and let them know that surely, I’d accept them if I could.”
It’s almost becoming a bit of a curse in that regard, but at the same time I just love it. I want to be an example to not just other local race car drivers, but just to people who are trying to achieve stuff. I kind of want to utilize my experiences with the platform that Facebook and Twitter provide. I’ll offer some advice here and there, and maybe some motivation or encouragement. If I’m having a bad day, I’m pretty transparent about that, and I love everybody equally. The fans’ job is to cheer me up, and they do a great job at it.
Dreyer: What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a fan, such as an autograph request?
Cobb: I’ve had many marriage proposals, which is fine! I think the strangest things that have happened are the people who join, and they’re you’re friend and they’re there for awhile… and then they are like termites that are infecting your house and they’re negative and you’re like, ‘Why did you bother becoming a friend?’ That’s also great for anyone, especially for young people to know that anytime you’re trying to even achieve the smallest amount of success, people are going to try and tear you down. I think that’s a great lesson, too.
Other than lots of marriage proposals and people who I think don’t understand when I can’t e-mail them back, and I’m like, ‘I’ve e-mailed you three times now! I have 800 others to get to; I’ll get to you as quickly as I can!’ I think, for the most part, everybody plays nice. Everyone is very encouraging and supportive. Not just of me, but of one another. That’s what makes it so great about social networking. A one-on-one communication is a social network.
Dreyer: You actually have a Driver Boutique that sells different kinds of fashion and things like that. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Cobb: I always appreciate the opportunity to talk about “Driver Boutique” and “Driven Male.” In 2006, I just felt the need to start my own business of some sort. I’m a professional public speaker, and that’s another area of revenue for our team. Then, of course, we try to sell sponsorship so we can make races, but I think it’s when we reach out to the grassroots level it’s really a win-win for fans to be able to contribute. That’s what the Driver Boutique is, a line for female race fans.
Then we had so many men say, ‘Hey, you need to make a line of shirts for us.’ So, last year we launched DrivenMale.com. Both of those websites can be found just by going to my main website, which is JenniferJoCobb.com.
What I’m doing is we’re taking all of the proceeds from both of those and then putting it towards our racing program. Eventually, when we can obtain the status of Dale Jr. or maybe even a Danica, when we’re selling a ton of apparel and raking in some money, I would like to support people who are like me who came from a background of racing and want to race, but don’t have the money to race. I kind of want this to be a seed that is nurtured — growing into something that can be viable to support many racers for many years to come.
Dreyer: We talked about the racing aspect a little bit. What are some things you enjoy doing away from the racetrack and in your free time?
Cobb: I am really bad about shopping! I love exercising, so I guess those two balance each other out. I’m a single girl — and very happily single — and I travel a lot, so on my off weeks I’m rarely at home. I have two wonderful cats who holler for me when I’m not there, but I have people who go take care of them. I enjoy seeing the world and I kind of tend to do the same things when I get to. I enjoy sightseeing, a little shopping, a little bit of going out, a lot of eating, and a lot of exercising.
Dreyer: You actually do some public speaking as well sometimes, right?
Cobb: That’s right, I’ve done a lot of public speaking. I think people must think something is wrong with me when I say this, but I really like public speaking! I still get nervous whenever I give speeches because, typically, I’ve been hired and I started to get paid for giving speeches, and that puts a lot more pressure on. I really enjoy it because I can share so many things that happen to me on the racetrack that parallels lessons for business and even in life.
I give motivational speeches on attaining big goals, setting goals, and setting realistic goals that are really big. I also give speeches on teamwork and incorporating pit crew strategies in the office. Then I also have a spiritual speech that I’ve given to my church, but I haven’t been hired to give that one. I have those speeches, and also being a female in a male-dominated industry.
Dreyer: You said you like to shop and that you’re really bad about it. What’s one item that’s always on your grocery list?
Cobb: SpaghettiO’s! I love SpaghettiO’s! I also get fresh fruit. I guess it’s not a bad thing, but I will have an entire basketful of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. It breaks my heart that SpaghettiO’s have to be processed food. I’m just really into eating healthy.
I think it’s so important to fuel our bodies like we would our cars. If you think about the things you would never put in your fuel tank because it would hurt your engine, and then think about the things that make it into our bodies each and every day… we wonder why we’re run down, and we wonder why we don’t feel like doing this or that or we’ve gained a few pounds! I really try to stock up on the fruits and vegetables. The more you eat them, the more you love them!
Dreyer: Do you feel like that helps you in your racing career, and when you get in the car you might feel more refreshed than others do?
Cobb: Years ago, I just did not know how to take care of myself. In high school and college, I was a cheerleader and I was heavily into gymnastics. You tend to take all that metabolism for granted. In my 20s, I gained 15 pounds. Then, I got into my 30s and that’s when I really started exercising and eating better. I noticed that I’d get out of a 50-mile race, and I’d get out of the car and be ready to run another one. It’s definitely a key component to keeping in shape for racing.
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