MOORESVILLE, NC – Being a driver in NASCAR is tough enough on by its own right. Add the role of owner and the trials and tribulations double.
However, after 10 years as the owner/driver of Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Cobb is still out there competing each week.
The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series will make its debut on the historic Daytona International Speedway Road Course. The day carries even more significance for Cobb, driver of the No. 10 Fastener Supply Company Chevrolet Silverado, as she makes her 200th-series start.
Cobb made her series debut in 2008 at her home track of Kansas Speedway, before forming her own team in 2010. She has entered every race since 2010 as a team owner, also fielding trucks for other drivers as a teammate. Cobb has also made 31 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts.
The milestone isn’t lost on the veteran driver, one bit. She is also very aware of her path to today.
“I feel gratitude,” Cobb said. “Through the past 10 years, we have outlasted many teams, big and small. I’ve learned so much from both a driver and a business standpoint and I am constantly looking for ways to improve.
“Before I moved up to the big leagues in NASCAR, I won races. Now the teams with the budget and capabilities of winning at this level make up less than 20 percent of the entire field. When I look at the past 10 years, I feel like we have paid our dues.
“Looking forward, it’s time to dig deeper and have the sponsors and performance that I know we are capable of at JJCR.”
The fact Cobb is a female isn’t something, she feels, hampers her efforts to keep the team going and growing. However, she is very aware of what it means to be a female team owner in the NASCAR ranks.
“For a woman without money or a huge sponsor backing to have survived this long as a driver and a team owner, is just unheard of today,” Cobb said. “We have defied so many odds and it has been all because of the great people who support me. I could not do this – from a financial perspective but also a mental perspective – if it weren’t for the team, my family and friends, the fans and of course the sponsors.
“I love the line from the old Smokey and the Bandit song that says ‘We gonna do what they say can’t be done’ I think that kind of sums up the attitude of this team, no matter who has worked on it.”
Fastener Supply Company, a fastener solutions provider based in Charlotte, N.C. with a total of five locations throughout the Southeast, will be a full-time sponsor of Cobb’s team for the rest of the year.
Fastener will also launch a rebranded logo, after more than 60 years, placing it on the prestigious hood location of the No. 10 Truck as part of this special event. The new logo design is by Paradigm Multimedia Marketing, the parent company of Paradigm Racing, also a partner with JJCR.
“We are very excited to be aligning with Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing for the rest of this year, and hopefully to continue doing so in the future,” said Donnie Shrum, President of Fastener Supply Company. “This partnership adds value to both of our organizations, and we have the ultimate respect for Jen and her team. Her accomplishments in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series would be impressive for any driver, but especially so for a woman who helped set the stage for other females to enter the profession.”
Respect and Russia
A decade of commitment, efforts and support deserves a huge amount of respect from within the sport, and to outside observers.
“To have our partners working together and pledging more support to JJCR during this very special year is amazing,” Cobb said. “This year we have this great new sponsor in Fastener Supply Company, a new Crew Chief (Brian Keselowski) and spotter (Clayton Hughes) and it just seems like there is a renewed effort and positive momentum taking place for our team.”
In addition to the owner/driver hats, Cobb has also served as an ambassador for females in racing making three trips to Russia speaking to several groups about NASCAR. While the stats may not show wins and championships, her status and longevity in the sport are credible.
“Earning the respect of my competitors has been pretty important to me, and I think we have the respect of those that I care about,” Cobb said. “The legends and long-standing drivers, owners and teams really look out for us. Giving so many crew members their first opportunity in racing has been an important purpose for JJCR. Sometimes they just need a start – a chance – and then they propel forward and we kick them out of our nest so they can thrive.”
Tough times and ending one
Along the way, the trials are sometimes not the ones that happen on the track that take the biggest toll. For Cobb, that happened two years ago.
“Losing my mom in 2018 was a really dark time,” she said. “Mom gave up so much for racing over my dad’s local career and mine. I am just so happy with the memories we were able to make with her and the way my racing friends all over the country have embraced my parents.
“As I get older, people ask me all the time how much longer I’m going to do this. Morgan Shepherd is my inspiration, he is 78-years old and still fully capable of wheeling that thing.
“I don’t put arbitrary numbers on my life. So, I’ll race as long as I am physically capable, having fun and as long as God provides the financial means through the great partners he sends me.”