NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Jennifer Jo Cobb will be the first driver to be penalized under the new rule against leaving a wrecked car before safety personnel arrive and approaching the racing surface. Cobb maintains that she “completely forgot” about this rule.
Cobb’s truck spun out on lap 13 when Tyler Reddick got close while trying to lap her. Cobb told ESPN that he tapped her right rear corner, sending her into the wall. However, the broadcast commentators said that it didn’t look like there was any contact, but rather, she got loose in front of Reddick. Either way, Reddick went on to win the race, while Cobb made one of the dumbest moves you could possibly do on a hot race track.
In addition to completely forgetting sanity, common sense, and any sense of self-preservation whatsoever, she told ESPN that she forgot about NASCAR’s new rule which prohibits walking towards race traffic as well:
I completely forgot [the rule]. And the fact that I forgot is such a shame because the reason it is in place likely stems from a tragedy that none of us should forget. ... It was a huge error in judgment on my part.
The fact that we had a very stern meeting [after the race] will keep it top of mind with me for sure.
Clearly, the fact that “don’t play in traffic” is a rule (and sadly had to become a rule after Kevin Ward Jr.’s tragic, preventable death) was the deal-breaker here, despite the fact that playing in traffic is dangerous and stupid.
That “very stern meeting” was likely with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director Elton Sawyer, who had to be extremely unamused that his series will feature the first infraction pertaining to a very obviously dangerous thing that you should never, ever do. (Have we made this clear yet? Stay in your car unless it’s on fire, and don’t walk towards oncoming traffic. It’s a bad idea.)
“We take safety very serious and discussed it with her. [...] It’s a serious infraction,” Sawyer told ESPN. “She understands what she did, and there will be consequences.”
According to ESPN, Cobb owns her own team and runs it on a shoestring $300,000 annual budget, which is peanuts compared to the $3-4 million the top truck teams in NCWTS spend.
Perhaps NASCAR needs to institute an additional rule preventing drivers from yelling at oncoming cars on the race track from the racing surface (just to clarify), adopt a sasquatch that tries to eat drivers who leave their cars to walk on track, or make the track itself out of banana peels. Clearly, both the new rule as well as the possibility of injury and/or death aren’t enough of a deterrent.
According to ESPN, NASCAR considers this a behavioral rule, and determines punishment on a case-by-case basis. They have shown some leniency in the past with drivers getting out of the cars as safety personnel watched, however, Cobb was the first driver to move towards oncoming traffic.
“We’ll see what happens,” Cobb told ESPN. “There’s repercussions, and I hope it didn’t make a bad day worse. It wasn’t that I knew and didn’t care. I forgot. In the moment you’re just like, ‘What just happened?’ [...] I wasn’t thinking about any of that. I was just mad.”
Penalties are typically decided after the race, so this story will be updated as soon as we learn what it will be.
Really, though, don’t walk into race traffic. It’s a horrible idea, rules or no rules. There shouldn’t even need to be a rule for this, but there is one. Follow it, please.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.