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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

After Jennifer Jo Cobb’s Cup Rejection, What is NASCAR Doing?

The NASCAR Cup Series is the premier stock car racing series in the world. That fact is unquestioned. For decades it has been the dream of thousands of racecar drivers, not only from the United States, but from around the globe. Sadly, the means of making it to the top level of the sport has changed over the years.

It was once purely based on abilities.

Then corporate sponsorship took over the sport and, slowly but surely, the seats became the domain of the drivers who were able to bring the funding so that the teams didn’t have to do as much leg work to land big sponsors. Fortunately, the pendulum has begun to swing back a little towards the middle, where at least some of the drivers with talent are moving up the ranks without writing a fat check.

As a result of the swing back toward sensibility, the sanctioning body has begun to try and be a little more stringent on driver certification to compete in the national series, especially the Cup series. Recently, we have seen James Davison attempt to run at Talladega Superspeedway only to be denied within days of the event. That decision was understandable since there was going to be no practice or qualifying for the event. Hard to envision a driver’s very first lap in a Cup car as their first ever laps in a stock car on an oval. He had four starts in Xfinity on road courses before that event. Unlike that decision, the call that NASCAR is making for this weekend makes zero sense.

Jennifer Jo Cobb has been running in the national series of NASCAR since 2004. She has been, basically, full-time since 2010. She has 11 starts at Talladega, including last fall in the Truck series. She has 308 starts as an owner in the Truck series, with an additional 21 in Xfinity. As a driver she has 248 starts in the Truck and Xfinity series.

Apparently, over some technicality, she was not approved to run in the race at Talladega this weekend. While the letter of the law may give them a justification for disallowing Cobb to run in the event, common sense should have overcome such a short-sighted decision.

The sanctioning body has come under scrutiny for allowing drivers with limited experience to compete at the Cup level. While that may have applied in some cases, Cobb has turned a significant number of laps in the national touring series over her career and the dedication that she has shown to the sport, deserved to afford her a ride in the race. Derrike Cope was allowed to run in the Daytona 500 this year, having not been in a Cup car since 2018. There was limited backlash against that decision and there are more reasons to deny his effort than there were to pull the plug on Cobb.

The other factor involved here is Rick Ware Racing. Ware has been helping keep the Cup fields full with his cars for several years. Last year and, so far, this year, he’s been putting four cars on the track most weeks. There would be few other, better combinations to symbolize the loyalty of back marker teams to NASCAR than Rick Ware and Jennifer Jo Cobb. The underdog story should have been celebrated and a great marketing campaign to help highlight “The Greatest Season Ever”.

Instead the denial of Cobb’s participation is a slap in the face.

One other interesting tidbit to note as the field prepares to take the green flag this weekend, check out the experience of the following drivers, at Talladega, who will be in the field on Sunday.

National Touring Series Starts at Talladega

Anthony Alfredo, 3

Christopher Bell, 7

Josh Bilicki, 3

Chase Briscoe, 6

Harrison Burton, 3

William Byron, 8

Cole Custer, 6

Kaz Grala, 3

Justin Haley, 7

Quin Houff, 2

Tyler Reddick, 8

Cody Ware, 6

That is a dozen drivers who have anywhere from three to nine fewer starts in the three national series than Cobb does. Five of the 12 have less than half of the starts she does. However, none of them are being questioned about their legitimacy to compete in the race.

Is Cobb a great driver who will be up front contending for the win on Sunday? Absolutely not.

Are there thousands of drivers in the country, running at local race tracks, who are more talented behind the wheel than she is? Undoubtedly so.

While both of those facts are true, she has still put in the time and dedicated almost half of her life to competing in NASCAR races at the national level. In a time where drivers buy seats routinely and would have very little chance of making it to the national level if it was based solely on driving accomplishments, this was an opportunity to reward someone for their dedication to the sport. Instead, she was slapped in the face, along with the car owner, which was simply insulting.

Last year at Talladega, we saw an incredible display of solidarity behind Bubba Wallace. It was one of the greatest moments of the terrible year that was dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic that kept fans away from the race track. This would be an amazing opportunity for the drivers and teams in the sport to make another statement through their actions. Whether they all carry a decal for Cobb, or they all pull down pit lane and stop in a show of solidarity, the sport should seriously do something. As the old saying goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

The sport has made some amazing strides in the past year and this very well may be “The Greatest Season Ever.” However, this move is a very big step backwards. Cobb and Ware deserve better.

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80 thoughts on “After Jennifer Jo Cobb’s Cup Rejection, What is NASCAR Doing?”

    • You are probably right about that but it doesn’t change the fact that there should be some written criteria. If the driver reaches a certain level of experience they should be able to race. I am not saying whether of not I think JJC should be able to race, I am saying that there are lot of others that they let race that I don’t think they should have.

      • This whole thing about equality is out of hand. Most people ignore it as issues develop because it does not affect them. However at a time when the U.S. is trying to deal with the covid and some guy who tried to pass a bogus twenty dollar bill, ( which resulted in his family becoming millionaires overnight) it’s time to concentrate on the bigger picture – climate change and world hunger. Danica Patrick and her female predecessors could never reach the winning pinnacle of success at NASCAR’S elite level. Equality, come on get serious. Women have babies men don’t – there is a clue there somewhere. Most of the rest of the world accepts reality but the U.S. has to grind issues into the ground. BIGGEST REASON – marketing revenue . . . The yellow striped Zebra in the zoo.

    • Fellow Race Fan … You are mistaken. This is a story because Jennifer HAS the skill and experience to safely compete in a Cup race at Talladega.

      • Not arguing over whether or not JJC has the skill and experience to safely compete in a Cup race at Talladega, but had it been Cody Ware or Anthony Alfredo there wouldn’t be 70+ comments (if there was even a story about it). It would have been the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

  1. In trying to put the rational to this irrational decision by Nascar, they appear to put more stock in experience in a Cup car over experience in their own feeder series. What they’ve done here is poor, as was how they handled James Davison. At the time of entry that decision should have been made, not after the damn car is wrapped. As for Rick Ware…he has 4 charters, he
    has to have that car in the race. Not to mention that with JR, Kaulig, and 23XI all looking for
    charters, he’s become a powerbroker in the sport.
    Maybe Rick Ware can replace Jennifer Jo with Keelan Harvick. It would likely pass Nascar’s random filter.

    • I would venture to guess that if this had been a Richard Childress or Rick Hendrick owned team she would be given the go ahead to race but because this a less funded team nascar said NO or if the driver was a man it be go ahead

  2. Sure, let’s mandate a driver lineup that reflects the exact male/female and racial breakdown that exists in the US. Skill and experience should not be criteria.

      • This whole lead lap percentage thing is garbage in my opinion. She runs an underfunded truck team–not many people are finishing lead lap with her equipment. She typically is respectable with what she has to work with.

        They said it wasn’t about the Norm Benning incident and I don’t think JJC would do anything like that anywhere but a short track.

        If the fear is she has little recent drafting experience, I doubt the 15 is going to be up in the draft that much anyway. Best case was JJC or Yeley keep it attached at the back of the draft. Joey Gase showed he could get the 53 up there mid-pack in the Duel, but that was reflection of Joey’s unrecognized abilities.

        JJC getting this chance could have helped her attract more sponsorship for her truck team and maybe just keep what she has. Small independents took a real punch to the gut when JJC was denied. I’m confident she would have done fine on Sunday, been a non-factor, but a good story.

        It’s a shame.

  3. i will say it if no one else will, NASCAR kept her out because she is a woman and no other reason, Quinn Hoff is a total joke, Cody Ware has no business being in the Cup series, But because they are men NASCAR lets them race,

    • LOL. The reason she is out is because she can’t drive. Ware is just trying to take advantage of the “equality movement “ to put some sponsorship money in his pocket. Sorry, she may have driven at Dega before but check her results. She might be under the LOW bar Danica set

  4. this is about MONEY nascar feels that they can not MARKET Jennifer jo like they did with Danica HELL we all know JJ is a better driver any way

  5. Where NASCAR is trying to get back fans and losing sponsors, this decision is , at best, idiotic. The lady is has put her time in for years, she’s driven all over and now this, good ole boy stupidity. Yes! Stupidity.
    You took down the Confederate flag and yet you made this decision based on the “facts”. Change this now!

  6. They kept her out because she is barely competent to drive in the Truck Series. You guys are always ragging on Bubba Wallace, but he won 6 races in the Truck Series and 15 Top Fives, and and 6 Top Fives in NXS. Cobb has no Top Fives in Trucks and one Top Ten 10 years ago. Plus she is a wreck waiting to happen.

    As a woman, I am not offended that she is being kept out of Dega for safety reasons. It was the right decision. Comparing her to equally incompetent males is irrelevant. Those men should also be denied the privilege of racing in the premier series.

      • Why isn’t that lady that won the snowball derby got a ride in cup. If you win that race your a driver for sure..I think her name was Miss Long..oh yea forget you half to buy your way into cup…..

        • When Johanna Long ran in the Xfinity series along with Princess Sparkle Pony, she either ran competitively against her, or outperformed her in a car and team with probably 10% of the resources that Danica had supporting her. Maybe if she would have posed half-naked on the hood of her car like Danica, she could have gotten the funds to advance.

    • She’s actually a talented driver that’s been in low funded team that she owns and runs and operates and drives. She was around long before Danica and was never given the opportunity because she was a female. If it wasn’t from GoDaddy and half-naked ads by Danica she would never been in NASCAR. JJC is truly a racer that’s dedicated to the sport that’s worked hard for what she’s got

  7. Outstanding article. Take a look at the back markers that are in the cup series. How many have never won a race in any of the series. Some time ago I checked the records of some of those drivers. I found 9 of them that had never won in truck or Xfinity series. Take these out and there would be a problem getting 30 cars in the field. You blew it nascar.

  8. As always Mike, right on. Thanks for the perspective.
    She should have been given a chance. Drivers have no issues competing with her driving in Xfinity and Truck. That includes drivers like Kyle Bush. And I hadn’t thought of Rick Ware. Without him, 36 cars, maybe, in a Cup field. She would have been just fine. Besides, Talladega is a demolition derby. She may have engineered a pretty good finish.

  9. Just the good old boys who run NASCAR, more to this story than what’s coming to light. Who did she piss off??? One of the boys get their dick knocked in the dirt by a girl??? So this is how NASCAR retaliates…Hey Junior if you’re interested in a good story get to the bottom of this…

    • Good lord you are dense. There have been women drivers in NASCAR since the 50s. They’re not going to let someone who has never been in a cup car, not once, run at the fastest and most dangerous track on the schedule. Without even having 1 practice lap because of covid restrictions. There’s a difference between having no talent but still driving in the truck series and having no talent and trying to drive a cup car, without even getting a single practice lap. And even if she did get in the race, it would be a start and park deal for the sponsors. Meaning she would get out there for her sponsors to be on TV and then park it because even if she had the talent, she doesn’t have the equipment to even stay on the lead lap. So please, instead of buying into the rage baiting media, know what it is you’re talking about. They’ll give the last starting spot to someone who has at least driven a cup car before someone who hasn’t. This is nothing but idiotic “reporting” trying to rile up idiotic people.

  10. Nascar is afraid she will cause a wreck taking out their top star attractions. Yes this is a possibility, however it stinks of bias. What’s the answer? How about previous winners in the truck or Xfinity series as a qualification to running Cup? I’d rather see a skinny field of proven drivers than a fat field of “field fillers.

  11. They let Bill Lester race in a truck at Atlanta after not racing in NASCAR since 2007, at age 60 no less. I know Atlanta is not the same as Talladega but its not Martinsville either. If you let a driver strap into a race vehicle after 14 years with no question, why can’t you let another driver race at a track where they have much experience.

  12. Gotta love Nascar cramming terms like inclusion and equality down our throats and then making this decision with no legitimate reason for doing so. But then again anyone that can think for themselves knows it’s just optics to please the perpetually enraged.

  13. How about putting all the facts in the article. She has ZERO Cup experience and NASCAR has not denied her the ability to run a Cup race, just not at Talledega. There is zero practice, zero qualifying, and she has zero experience. Talledega is a tough race track, and the most dangerous track on the circuit, that’s why they denied James Davidson his Cup debut in 2020. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, it has to do with her being a rookie in the Cup series making her first start at this track. And every driver has said, the Trucks drive differently than the Nationwide cars which drive differently than the Cup cars. If it was Dover, or Pocono or Martinsville, it probably would not be an issue. Stop playing a Marathas is not there.

    • Your comment comes off as uneducated at best on the matter. She has been racing in the lower series for years and many races on yes the same Talladega Superspeedway the leagues are racing on this weekend. There is zero justification for keeping her out of this race. Especially when other back markers in the series have less experience than her at that racetrack.

      • Did you not read Matthew’s comment? He pointed out that she would be a rookie at the CUP level at Dega, and that the trucks drive very differently than the Cup cars. I don’t get all the b*tching about this decision. Just like James Davison last year, NASCAR has prudently decided that for an unproven rookie to drive at the fastest most dangerous track in NASCAR with no practice is a bad idea.

  14. well NASCAR is really been going down here for quite a few years this just shows that if you’re not a big name woman you’re not getting a chance to NASCAR anymore how many people even actually watch car races anymore

    • That’s Nascar .look in the stands see how many people lost interest. I had 30 tickets my group said that it

  15. This is a typically dumb FS column, designed only to get people to piss and moan about how NASCAR runs its business. All these private enterprise folks are suddenly offended by an enterprise that chooses to exclude a person who has no business competing at its elite level.

    My only complaint is that NASCAR has let too many others into Cup races who have no business being there. For example, Cup drivers are not allowed to race in the Playoff races for Trucks and NXS. By the same token, Truck and NXS drivers and drivers with no Cup experience should also be excluded from Cup Playoff races.

    • You sound very unintelligent. Derrick was allowed to race because it was a typical Daytona 500. Multiple practices, qualifying, duels, and then the 500. This weekend there is none of that. Your first lap is go time, and hope you have a decent setup prepared. In case you didn’t watch the 500 this year, you would also see that the cup cars get runs of 10-15mph difference from the leaders in just half a lap. Trucks don’t get anywhere near that. There is a huge difference from trucks to cup. If you followed Nascar you would also know that RWR is a “field filler/start n’ park” It’s the worst of worst equipment, and the cars are either out of the race or multiple laps down in comparison to the median of the field after each race. So even if she was given the go ahead to race, it isn’t going to be this momentous occasion that you would make it out to be. She will be out because the car is a POS, just like Derrick’s was at Daytona, or she will be driving around with the rest of RWR’s cars not capable of maintaining enough speed to hold draft in the lead pack, and go multiple laps down.

      It sounds like you just some SJW that was given a few pages of statistics, and told to right something trashing Nascar for not allowing her to race. But I see you have a following of blind sheep that bough your BS article, so good on you I guess.

  16. My understanding is that the main issue was that she has failed at far too high a percentage of races to stay on the lead lap when she finished a race.

  17. True, however, all but Houf and ware, for their limited starts have run much better than Cobb ever has in their few starts. Cobb has the starts, but is week in and week out one of if not the slowest truck out there, is often in the way. If they told Houg forget it, that would make sense, he’s crashed a lot more than he’s finished and been the slowest car or one of the slowest cars the last 2 years, personally a place like dega, I wouldn’t have approved him or Cobb.
    Also, Cobb was parked for an incident in the last truck race, and I believe has been parked if not at least warned several times for being too slow in past races, that stuff may also figure in and though nascar says last weekend’s parking didn’t have anything to do with it, maybe they met with her about that and something she did, or said, something else played in to it that’s not public, weather yet or may never be. Not defending nascar, they do make decisions that make sense, but sometimes stuff goes on we don’t know about until later too.

    • She’s not driving her truck. She is driving a Cup car owned by Rick Ware (if I’m not mistaken) who are chartered for the season. The car she would have drove (or is it driven) on Sunday would have been far more competitive than the truck she brings to the track every week. You are comparing apples and oranges.

  18. It’s a good thing Nascar has the Covid to blame for attendance issues.They don’t understand that they are the problem! JenJo & Rick certainly deserve to be in the race. At least she wouldn’t start and park.

  19. The only reason she got the ride is the equipment she would be in is not great. No matter who drives this particular car the result will be the same. In the end it is NASCAR’S call, not mine and not some pencil pusher. If we don’t agree with NASCAR’S decision, don’t watch.

  20. Bottom line it’s always about the money!JJC , Should be able to race. She’s more Experienced than some out there. Money money money, That’s what nascar is about

  21. She is well qualified to run at Talledega. Her biggest issue has always been poor equipment. Stupid decision by NASCAR not to let her run. She would have been a great reason to actually watch the race.

  22. I won’t be watching.. just one more corporate run sport out the window.
    That leaves horse racing for me.
    Tho bad Nascar just lost 2 more viewers!

  23. Jennifer Jo Cobb should be able to run in the upper class of Nascar. She has put in more time and money than some of those that are approved to run in Talladega this weekend. Nascar should look back at what she has done for the sport and reward her for doing so much.

  24. If Jennifer Jo were black or hispanic, she would be the next coming! NASCAR would not only welcome her, but would probably pay for it!

    I was a NASCAR fan for 51 years….

  25. Let the lady drive. She can run and be in the back when the big one happens. She may just be a top 10 or win. Don’t knock her down let her run. Rick Ware gets mad he can pull 4 cars out and y’all (nascar) will be crying. Let her RACE

  26. Shes a danger at best in a truck race, and flat out ticking time bomb in a cup car.
    And if she didn’t have her own money paying for truck operation, no company would sponsor a consistent 3 lap down or DNF driver. That’s the only reason she’s still in the truck series. She doesn’t have the talent Hailey deegan has, who is already in xfinity cars. Danica Patrick actually had a lot of talent, she even lead a lot of races and nearly won a couple. She had a better career than many other MALE drivers. Shawna Robinson was driving cup cars at every track 30+ years ago. Janet Guthrie finished in the top 10 in the coke 600 I think it was 1974? These baiting articles written by ignorant hacks need to stop. Im 36 years old and have been watching NASCAR since I was 3. It takes talent foremost, consistent finishes, and sponsorship money. Doesn’t matter whatsoever about race or gender. If you’re an asexual green outer space martian but you can compete for a win in Cup, you’ll have a ride. JJC in a cup car at talladega is a good way for someone to get killed. The fact that there have been more than a few female drivers at the highest level in stock car racing….because they actually had talent and weren’t a danger to others proves my point. But you probably didn’t even know that. If I (a man) went out and finished 30th in the truck series for a few years, and usually crashed every race, then decided I was gonna run a cup race at Dega I guarantee NASCAR would tell me to pound sand until I show Im not a danger in a 200mph cup car that’s 100x more aero sensative than a truck. Even the best drivers in the world have trouble not crashing in a restrictor plate race. And even if she actually got into the race it would just be a start and park deal for the sponsors. She’d be in the garage after 5 laps. So what’s your point? Maybe actually know that of which you speak before making false claims and looking like a fool.

  27. Nascar is doom ….Mess up points system…..Mess up Rebel flag down at Southern 500.Why not let her drive
    ..Jeffery Earnhart in race….and more non driving men in field.Bubba Wallace driving because of his race…Kenny Wallace got kick out of Nascar?Why dont they run 40 or 43 cars when Nascar was racing.Get in on Speed not no Charter Team

  28. This was a great article. And it’s absolutely a slap in the face to her. If she had Danica money or Danica popularity or if it was simply her trying to get in no way would she have been denied. Wouldn’t be an issue.
    No ill intent toward her but aint it the truth?

  29. I never missed a race on either at a track or on tv, I loved the racing until NASCAR became too big for it’s briches and was going to watch Talladega this weekend to pull for “JENNIFER JO COBB” but after the way NASCAR did her, the hell with them will never go to watch another race. Just like Coke I dropped them too. Jennifer tell them to kiss where the sun don’t shine!!

  30. 20 years ago this wouldn’t be an issue, but with all the BULLSHIT politics, now and favoritism there’s no way she will get in unless she buys a ride at a high cost. Personally I would like to see more women in the sport, everyone knows that women have a faster reaction time then men and it mite make it a lot more interesting to have 5 or 6 women in racing at a Nascar track.

  31. She was probably going to come up from 18th through the field to take the win in the last few laps. JJC will not be denied says the broadcaster !! Oh , whoops . That was …….

  32. While I acknowledge the fact that she has more experience than most back markers, there is no doubt that she does not have the ability to drive a cup car.
    Just look at her last race and you will see her ability……to start accidents.
    It has nothing to do with her gender. Anyone that says that has not been watching the sport. She is a rolling roadblock.

  33. How many top tier drivers have caused a wreck at Dega by doing something stupid? Ask me if they’re afraid she’ll cause a wreck due to lack of experience or recent performance they may as well close Dega an make a fishing lake out of it.
    I won’t say if I agree or disagree with NASCAR it’s their sandbox and so it wouldn’t matter. What does matter is the way they like to interpret their own rule book on a case by case basis. I’ve never seen their rule book but I’m led to believe it was printed in grey verse the standard black and white.
    I like your articles by the way. Always very well written

  34. To say I am disappointed that JJC won’t be able to race would be an understatement. I was looking forward to seeing her race and don’t understand why she’s not. It’s not even Sunday and it’s already a let down for me.

  35. In past years NASCAR weekends were attended/watched without fail, but today because of the politics/ decisions by NASCAR, my family has found better things to do than to attend/watch.

  36. if it was any other track, id say it is wrong , but at Talladega im afraid she and or her equipment isnt up to par. if she spins out like she does almost everytime she races , it could be very dangerous. im sorry i think nascar is correct in this one.

  37. Nascar needs to publish a list of approved drivers. This would allow teams to know ahead of time, before going through all that they do to find and sign a driver and sponsor for a race.

  38. The truth is there is No problem. They even admitted the other drivers (guys) Have the same standings. They are only denoting her because she’s a girl. If I was wrong they should admit it. If I’m not wrong than they need to join this century.
    What happens to Danica Patrick? Remember her standings? Woman have just as much right to drive as men. NASCAR I dare you to prove me wrong & let her race. But we all know they won’t. Just sad to see it like this. She is just as fast as everyone else. Not to mention Those aren’t even stock cars anymore.

  39. What the hell is going on.NASCAR can stand behind Bubba Wallace but want let Jennifer Jo Cobb race.Now isnt that racist.Nascar has gone 2 hell.Dale Earnhardt would b turning over n his grave knowing how bad the sport has gotten.She (JJC) has put her time n2 the sport and 2 b turned away like a fucking rookie.NASCAR (Mike Helton) should b ashamed.There r a few drivers who dont need 2 b driving in any series.But yet they all are n Sundays race @ Dega.Ms.Cobb deserves the same chance as any other driver.This really makes me not want 2 follow Nascar any longer.Ive watched r went 2 races all my life.But this has really made me realize that NASCAR is racist no matter how hard they try 2 hide it.I think they would rather no women b able 2 race n a all man sport.They ran Danica Patrick out now they r coming after Jennifer Jo Cobb.What a piece of shit company.Its so sad that politics comes b4 common sense.I hope & pray that ppl will stand up 4 Jennifer Jo Cobb & make Nascar rethink their decision.As 4 me I’m not going 2 watch the race this sun.Hopefully GOD will rain or flood it out.This is PLAIN BULLSHIT on nascar part.

  40. The most ridiculous thing about this is that they are worried about her causing a crash with her experience level. I promise you all that there will be a big crash, and I promise you that one of the seasoned vets will cause it. See this years daytona 500 and the leader and a seasoned vet causing “the big one”.

  41. Put Jennifer-jo-cobb in the 23 cup car and jordon and Hamlin might just shitcan Wallace after she piles up top tens. I gotta believe if she was a black female driver knowing the way nascar is heading these days she would be in the dega race.

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