Sunday, May 31, 2015

TRUCKS: Jennifer Jo Cobb Furious After Early Dover Wreck

SOURCE: FOX Sports 1,
Jennifer Jo Cobb picked up the 5th last-place finish of her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 at the Dover International Speedway when her #10 / Chevrolet was taken out in a single-truck crash after she completed 12 of the race’s 200 laps.

The finish was Jo Cobb’s first of the 2015 season and her first as a driver in the Truck Series since Martinsville on April 6, 2013, when her #10 RAM burned the clutch after 22 laps of the Kroger 250, 48 races ago.  The finish occurred in her 99th series start - this Friday in Texas, she is expected to make her 100th.

Jo Cobb, an owner-driver in the series since 2010, has continued to make the most with limited resources.  To make ends meet, Jo Cobb has run for every manufacturer in the series except Toyota, carried a number of sponsors from small companies and crowd-funded efforts, and has at times entered a second truck, #0, to collect extra funding.  Her best career finish remains a 6th-place run in the 2011 season opener at Daytona, though last year she earned her second-best finish, a 13th at Kansas.  She also reduced her DNQs from 5 to just 1 and improved from 25th in points to 16th.

This year, Jo Cobb has so far made every race in 2015 and has three times finished inside the Top 20.  Coming into Dover, she sat 14th in points after her second-straight 19th-place finish at Charlotte.

Jo Cobb’s truck was one of 36 entries on the preliminary list, including her team truck the #0 driven by defending LASTCAR Truck Series Champion Caleb Roark.  However, by race weekend, Jo Cobb had withdrawn Roark’s entry, and Mike Affarano and James Buescher’s trucks were pulled from the list as well.  Jo Cobb ran 32nd-fastest of the 33 remaining trucks in the lone practice session, then secured the 30th starting spot on Owner Points.  The lone DNQ was Kyle Martel, whose #59 Hanover Cold Storage / Finish Line Express Chevrolet was faster than the final two qualified drivers.

Current 2015 LASTCAR Truck Series leader Norm Benning started 32nd in his #6 Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet and was among the first of the trucks to be lapped.  On the 13th circuit, the leaders had also passed Jo Cobb’s #10, which was running 28th and trying to stay clear of the faster trucks.  With 2nd-place Tyler Reddick trying to catch then-leader Ryan Blaney off Turn 4, Reddick made contact with the rear of Jo Cobb’s truck, sending the #10 head-on into the inside wall.

Jo Cobb climbed from her truck uninjured, but angry, gesturing at the #19 as it rolled by under caution.  Adding insult to injury, by walking onto the track after her crash, Jo Cobb may become the first NASCAR driver penalized under the rule instituted after last year’s tragic accident involving Kevin Ward, Jr.  Reddick went on to win the race and expressed sympathy for Jo Cobb in the post-race press conference.

Finishing 31st on Friday was Tyler Tanner, who was making his 5th series start in Mike Mittler’s #36 Mittler Bros Machine & Tool Chevrolet.  Mittler’s #36, apparently a “start-and-park” entry to help fund the team’s primary #63, ended up only a few spots behind his teammate.  Lead driver Justin Jennings lost his #63 Mittler Bros Machine & Tool Chevrolet in a Lap 33 crash triggered by rookie Jesse Little, whose #97 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota crossed the nose of Mason Mingus’ unsponsored #15 Billy Boat Motorsports Chevrolet on the backstretch.  All three trucks were unable to return to the race.  Benning, the last-place starter, finished 26th after suspension issues.

*While the #10 had not finished last in a Truck Series race since Jo Cobb’s Martinsville finish in 2013, it had not finished last in a Truck Series race at Dover since May 13, 2011, when Chris Lafferty ran Jo Cobb’s #10 / Chevrolet 2 laps before engine issues in the Lucas Oil 200.

32) #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 12 laps / crash
31) #36-Tyler Tanner / 15 laps / vibration
30) #97-Jesse Little / 32 laps / crash
29) #15-Mason Mingus / 32 laps / crash
28) #63-Justin Jennings / 33 laps / crash

1st) Norm Benning (2)
2nd) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks, Caleb Roark (1)

1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Norm Benning Racing (2)
2nd) MAKE Motorsports, Win-Tron Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (5)
2nd) Toyota (1)

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