You Go Girl: How Jennifer Jo Cobb Shook the NASCAR Landscape

Peter SchaeferContributor IIMarch 22, 2011

Forget all the Danica Patrick nonsense. This past Saturday at Bristol, Jennifer Jo Cobb was the center of attention.

Not for how she drove the car or where she finished, but for taking a stand that showed this woman has guts oozing out of every pore on her body.

She willfully refused to compete when she learned her car owner wanted her to run a couple laps and then park the car. With that action, she showed that the true spirit of a racer has no gender bias, nor does it care about race or religion. A racer wants to win, period.

This simple fact is often overlooked by car owners today, sacrificing a chance to run well or win for an easy paycheck. When she refused to demean herself for easy money, Cobb not only lost money and points, but her team as well. She may have gained fans also, by simply saying "I'm to committed to the fans and my career".

Cobb not only showed guts with her actions, but called to attention a long standing problem in NASCAR, the so called "start-and-park" teams. After being  under the impression she would be allowed to run the full race and putting her own money into an underfunded team, the rug was pulled out from under her.

Moments before the race she was told to park the car after a couple laps, with no prior knowledge of the owners plans she did the most logical thing to preserve her career: quit. It was unethical for the car owner, Rick Russell, to do what he did, but Bristol is in the past, and what the future holds for her is a lawsuit for breach of contract.

In the middle of this mess, however, came a beacon of hope. Owner Rick Ware quickly signed her to his team this past week, where she will serve as teammate to rookie Timmy Hill. With this signing, his team not only acquired a talented driver, but one in the history books as well.

Last year, Cobb made history by finishing 17th in points in the Camping World Truck Series, the highest points finish for a woman in NASCAR's three top-tier series. She will be gunning to make even more history this year, having her sights set on the Rookie of the Year award in the Nationwide series, something no woman has accomplished at any level in NASCAR.

Jennifer Jo Cobb went into Bristol just aiming to finish the race. She quit her former team ten minutes before the race , yet she came out smelling like a rose. She does not want to be known as a model, sex symbol or an actress, as other female drives have, but simply as a racer. In today's NASCAR, that's something to be admired.