LADIES LEAD DRAMA-FILLED DAY IN BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn._ Bristol Motor Speedway is known for ruffling feathers and creating drama, and on Saturday it was the ladies of the NASCAR Nationwide Series that were leading the way. Jennifer Jo Cobb refused to drive a start-and-park ride, while Danica Patrick showed her frustration with Ryan Truex after wrecking out of Saturday’s race.

Prior to the 300-lap Nationwide race even got underway, the drama began. NASCAR announced the No. 79 car for 2nd Chance Motorsports would go to the back of the pack for a last minute driver change. What was odd about the announcement was Jennifer Jo Cobb was part of driver introductions and took the ride around the track waving at the fans. Just as the drivers were strapping in, Cobb and team owner Rick Russell got into a disagreement leading Cobb to walk away from the car.

According to Cobb, Russell told her only 10 minutes prior to the race the team would start and park early in the race to save the car for California. In addition, Cobb said she was also told another driver would be in the car next week in California, despite her having a contract with the team to drive through that race.

When Cobb refused to park, Russell explained he would have NASCAR black flag her, forcing her to park.


Providing the crew and the tires, Cobb collected her people, hid the tires and walked away from the team. She later released a statement on the issue:

“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."

Cobb’s crew chief, Steve Kuykendall, later tweeted, “Car owner rick russell threatened myself and anyone associated with jennifer with a jack handle in the pits!”

Russell told reporters the decision was made to start and park on Friday after Cobb wrecked two weeks ago in Las Vegas.

“We only had one car, so had to have the body completely replaced on the car except for the roof, decklid and rear bumper, so without a sponsor the total of about $16,000 about broke me to get this car together,” he told Dustin Long. “We already had our entry in for here and California, so rather than try to roll this and lose this, we decided we’d come up here and I let everybody know we were here in a conservative mode. We would practice smart. We would qualify and we would make a few laps and then we would park the car and save it for California.”

“They were informed Friday morning of this,” he added. “Then this afternoon, the crew chief … he told me that they were getting together a pit crew and had bought tires. I said, ‘For what reason?’ He said, ‘So we can change tires and finish the race without a DNF.’ I said, ‘Who come up with this idea? The plan was, I told you Friday morning we weren’t doing that.’ I didn’t even bring my pit crew for that simple reason. So we had no pit crew. We were not going to pit. They took it on theirself to make this decision and then they wanted to make an agreement with me on pit road, and I said I’ll just have NASCAR black flag you and bring you in.

“She waited until five minutes until start time and told her crew chief and her other people that worked for her and they left. I’m sitting on pit road with a car without a driver and made myself look stupid, NASCAR look stupid, the whole bunch of us look stupid.’’

Scrambling to find a driver and put tires on the car, Russell eventually found Chris Lawson to pilot the car that sat in the garage for the majority of the race. Finally, on Lap 141 the No. 79 Ford headed onto the track, slowly circling around the apron. The team made four laps and parked it, earning $16,775.


 
While Cobb was standing up for her principles by refusing to park, Danica Patrick was parked after hitting the Turn 1 wall head-on after contact with Ryan Truex.

Racing multiple laps down, the pair made slight contact on the frontstretch, getting Patrick’s car loose. Unable to hang on, her day ended early. Climbing from the wrecked car, Patrick walked up the track to express her frustration to Truex as he drove past under caution.

In the early stages of the race, the pair battled for nearly 15 laps as Patrick tried to move past Truex’s No. 99 Toyota. While Patrick had the faster car at the time, she struggled to complete the pass on the rookie driver.

“He just runs hard,” Patrick said of Truex. “He just runs hard. He’s run hard every time I’ve been around him and it just seems like overkill. If your car is good you’ll go forward, if your car isn’t you’ll go back.”

Accepting blame for the incident, Truex explained the move was not intentional.

“We were racing there for a while – side-by-side,” Truex said. “My car was really loose for about half the race. I just came off the corner dead sideways. I was either backing into the wall or going down the hill and hoping to save it. I came off and came up – the right rear just almost hit the wall and came down to save it. She was there and came down on her and pretty much ended her day. I feel bad about that. It wasn’t on purpose and I’m sorry. I guess it’s a racing deal – it’s Bristol, it’s tight and things like that happen. I definitely feel bad about it.”

The term may be ‘Have at it, boys,’ but Saturday in Bristol it was women of NASCAR that found all the drama.

Related links:
Opinions Vary On Nationwide Tire Decision
Edwards Beats Stewart It Las Vegas

Gordon Ends Drought After Moving Busch
Edwards The Man To Beat After Second Place Run
Bayne Marks New Chapter In Wood Brothers History
Not A Fan Of Earnhardt, I Became One That Day
Brian Keselowski: The Cinderella Story of Daytona
ESPN Commentators Fire Back At ‘Rigged’ Comments
Give Me The Super Bowl Of Stock Car Racing
Wendell Scott Is a Story Everyone Should Know
NASCAR Alters Point System and Chase
Logano Says Nationwide Rule Will Not Affect Him, Will Affect Keselowski

Kulwicki and Allison Left Lasting Legacies On and Off Track
NASCAR Is A Better Live Viewing Experience Than The NFL
Johnson Wins Historic Fifth Straight Title
Fuel Mileage Race Brings Chase Closer Than Ever

Hamlin Wins Crazy Day In Texas
Wild Finish To The Wild Card Race
Who Said It Was Over?
Kahne Calls Split Mutual, Moves On
McMurray Wins, Title Contenders Narrow
NASCAR Going Green With E15 Fuel
Who Is To Blame For NASCAR’s Decline?
Stewart Back In The Chase With Win
Biffle Comes Up Big In Kansas
Johnson Wins, Other Chasers Falter
Bowyer Hit Hard By Penalty
Bowyer Saves Gas, Earns Chase Win
Hamlin Solidifies Points Lead With Victory
Is A Teammate An Advantage In The Chase?
Stewart Smokes ‘Em On Final Restart
A Favorite Heading Into The Chase?
Chase Clinch Scenarios – Atlanta
Racing For The Love Of The Sport
Busch Quiets Critics With Historic Win
Vickers To Return In 2011
Busch-Johnson Rivalry Could Reignite
Do Bonus Points Matter In The Chase?
Harvick Wins, Locks Chase Berth
Montoya Finally Gets The Win
Allmendinger Signs Multiyear Deal With RPM
Atlanta Loses Cup Date For 2011
Hard Hit Overshadows Race
Gibbs Offers His Thoughts On Fine

Newman Admits To Being Fined
Roush Hospitalized After Plane Crash
McMurray Makes History for Chip Ganassi
Newman’s Thoughts On Brad & Carl
Martin Insists He Will Drive No. 5 In 2011
Edwards and Keselowski Heat Up The Off Weekend
Victory Lane Rain Tastes Much Better
Harvick Wins Wild Coke Zero 400
The View From Kevin Harvick’s Pit Box at Pocono, Where DeLana Wore Her Firesuit
Ambrose’s Mistake Gives Johnson The Win
Hamlin Wins Wild Race at Pocono, Harvick and Logano Feud
Burton and Busch Ready To Move On
Penske, Ganassi Battle From Indy To Charlotte
Brian France Forging His Own Legacy, Often Away From The Track

Busch-Hamlin Feud Ends – For Now
Emotions Rule The Day At Hall of Fame
One Busch Wins, The Other Whines
Vickers Out For Season, Drivers Weigh In
Busch, Gibbs Win The Weekend
NASCAR Hall of Fame Open For Business
Artifact Stolen From NASCAR Hall of Fame
Gordon Still The Guy To Beat
A Sneak Peek at the NASCAR Hall of Fame
New Kyle Shines In Victory Lane In Richmond
Old School Meets New School
Johnson-Gordon Rift Shows Larger Trend
Another Wild Weekend In Talladega
Hornish ‘Fairly Confident’ He’ll Be With Penske Next Year
Hamlin Fights Pain, Beats Competiton
Kahne Goes From the King To The Emperor
Newman Needed Four Laps For Phoenix Win
Hamlin Enjoys Some Goody’s Pain Relief
Mears Tapped As Stand-In For Hamlin
Drivers Adjusting To Spoiler
Johnson and Busch: A Rivalry In The Making
Bristol Legends Crash
Rogers Admits Frustration, Refuses To Be Rattled
Edwards and Keselowski Meet With NASCAR
Harvick, Edwards Feuding
Get Ready For More Action
‘Have At It, Boys’ Put To The Test
Time For NASCAR To Get It Together
Luck Wins Races, Not Championships
An Inspiring Moment With Our Veterans
Hole-y Moley!
New Rules Force Teams To Adjust
Danica Finally Races
Biggest Dangers Are Off The Track
Superspeedway Concerns Nothing New
Racing expos connect fans with NASCAR
The next decade of NASCAR
D.J. Richardson’s legacy: Do more for NASCAR’s ‘weekend warriors’
Danica Patrick is all hype
Sprint Cup predictions revisited
Four-timers’ club: Johnson vs. Gordon
Three DNFs doomed Hamlin’s Chase
He came, he drove, he almost won
For sale: One ruined career
Family of girl injured at Talladega will be at race