Female NASCAR sensation Jennifer Jo Cobb is racing to the top
of what many view as a menís sport
by Julie Kuhlman
Overcoming the impossible is a way of life for race car sensation Jennifer Jo Cobb. More importantly to her though, it’s just simply fun. That must be why the girl who has the highest finish ever for a female at any Daytona race keeps going at lightning speed to reach even higher goals.
“I want to be the best I can possibly be,” Cobb said, who is aiming to race at NASCAR’s Sprint Cup level. “There hasn’t been a woman compete at that level in 10 years, and I am aiming to get there.”
Cobb is currently racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and is making quite a name for herself. She accumulated more points last year in that tier than any female to compete since 1949.
That’s big time.
“I have broken some barriers and want to continue to do so,” Cobb said. “Ever since I was a little girl, this is all I’ve wanted to do.”
Cobb’s love for racing came early and developed from watching her dad, Joe Cobb, race. “He always used to tell me keep it between the lines and really that is the only thing you can do. When I started out, my feet were in the fire right away.”
At 18 she participated in her first race at Lakeside Speedway and never looked back. She won her first race on a Friday the 13th in 1994 at the age of 21. Instead of stopping to soak in the victory,
her desire was to back it up with more success.
She broke into the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Racing Series in 2002, and what she has accomplished since then is nothing short of impossible with the lack of financial support women receive in the sport.
“Being able to compete at a high level in this sport is extremely challenging because we are out-financed many times,” Cobb said. “Our budget is a fraction of what the guys are. And since the sport is a business as much as a sport, it affects women in many ways.”
Cobb said a new organization that helps women drivers go for their dreams in motorsports is Race4Girls. The focus of this organization is to bring awareness to women in the racing industry who need sponsorships and funding to be successful.
“If we could get everyone out there just to give five dollars, that would help out so many women,” Cobb said. “There are 60 million race car fans out there and over 40 percent of them are female. They could do so much to help get women out on the track.”
Even with the amount of success Cobb has seen, she still struggles financially to stay in the sport full-time.
“The financial aspect is the toughest part,” Cobb said. “You need to have the money to have the equipment. Sometimes sponsorships will go with a guy over a girl. In order for women to have more success, they will really have to work hard at finding sponsorships. It can be done, but it is much tougher for women. My message to any girls wanting to go for their dream and to pursue it though is to keep at it. Persevere.”
Cobb says she gets excited when she sees young girls out at the go-cart tracks and hopes every one of them can have the ability to race if it is what they love. Cobb, 38, has stayed single and focused on her career from an early age. She has given up what some may view as a “normal” life with relationships in order to stay true to herself and do what she loves.
She has absolutely no regrets doing so.
“Racing is who I am,” Cobb said.
It’s no wonder Cobb’s favorite quote is this one from Walt Disney...“It is kind of fun to do the impossible.”
Cobb says it’s always struck home with her.
“Racing is fun, but it takes perseverance,” Cobb said. “But I believe anything is possible for me.”
Follow Jen’s career on twitter @JenJoCobb or on facebook at Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing. Donate to the Race for Girls organization at www.race4girls.com
Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #10 truck came in 27th place out of 36 racers at the recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the Kansas Speedway
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