Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jennifer Jo Cobbs refuses to “start and park” in the NASCAR Nationwide race at Bristol. UPDATE

As Kyle Busch once again dominated and won the Nationwide Series race at Bristol, which let’s be honest it’s not a surprise nor a story, I mean really who cares. But the real story of this Nationwide race happened about 10 minutes before the start of the race itself.

After the driver bought the tires for the Bristol race, the driver of the #79 2nd Chance Auto Parts Ford, Jennifer Jo Cobbs was informed by her car owner 10 minutes before the race that she would be “starting and parking” in today’s race.

You could only imagine what her reaction was and what she did next was a class act all the way, she walked away and refused to get into the car and “start and park”.
After the incident, Jennifer Jo Cobb said: "It feels like such a 'Jerry Maguire' moment. There were rumblings all week about us start and parking this race. I have a commitment to my sponsors, my fans, NASCAR that I won't start and park. I'm very serious about my career and my performance, and I've worked hard to prove it to everyone. The conversation was never had with me until 10 minutes before the race that I was to start and park. I had already bought tires for the race, so you can imagine that this was a blow to my principles and my finances to get this news. As the owner of 2nd Chance, he has the right to ask NASCAR to black flag me and said he would do that if I didn't comply. There were also rumors that he was going to surprise me and take me out of the car at California. We have a five race agreement that says I am racing for him, which is why I decided to collect Nationwide Series points and not Camping World Truck Series points. Because of those promises, I made decisions accordingly for my career. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, which there weren't many, I made a decision to walk away. I thank God for giving me the strength to do that. Sometimes that is the best thing to do. I just felt like I owed it to my fans and my sponsors that I'm seeking and to NASCAR that if I say, 'I'm here to race,' that I go out and race." – Quote from Jennifer Jo Cobbs Racing PR
Personally as not only a motorsports fan, but a huge NASCAR fan, I have strongly disagreed with the art of “start and park” teams in NASCAR in general whether it’s the Truck Series, Nationwide or Cup Series and that’s putting in nicely, truth is I think “Start and Park” team are stealing from NASCAR, sponsors, tracks and the fans and while NASCAR really doesn’t see all that wrong with it, fans like me do, of course that just my opinion.

Anyway, in hearing that Jennifer Job Cobbs refused to “start and park” earlier today at Bristol, I congratulate and I tip my hat to her for keeping her commitment to her sponsors and fans and not becoming another “start and park” driver. I truly hope that another NASCAR owner comes along and hires her to driver their racecar.

Now I just wish that more drivers in all three of NASCAR’s series would do the same and refuse to be a “start and park” driver…you never know, it could happen, besides its not racing if you’re starting a race, racing a few to several laps and then parking the car, all to collect a pay check.

UPDATE: I'm all about hearing both sides of the story and above you heard Jennifer Jo Cobb's comments following her quitting minutes before the Bristol race over being a "start and park" this week. I wanted to point out that the car owner of 2nd chance (Rick Russell) is speaking out as well and while Cobbs and he agree that would be a "start and park" team at Bristol and that Cobbs quit, but thats all. You can read all of both parties quotes on SceneDaily.com.

I'm sure that this will be a very interesting discussion for a while to come and this one has already touched off an even bigger issues, namely "start and park" teams. I just wish that all drivers would elect not to be "start and park" drivers in the future and look for another way to go racing every week.