Well, you can't start-and-park when you don't start, right?
Jennifer Jo Cobb didn't get into the No. 79 car before Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Bristol, saying that she was told by the team 10 minutes before the race that she was to start-and-park the car.
"There were rumblings all week about us start and parking this race," Cobb said. "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 [Rick Russell] 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."
The team found Chris Lawson to drive the car. He eventually ran four laps and parked the car.
According to team owner Rick Russell, Cobb knew that the team was starting-and-parking the car early on Friday.
"They were informed Friday morning of this. 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."
Cobb joined the No. 79 team at the beginning of the season, and after failing to qualify at Daytona, qualified at Phoenix and Vegas, finishing 32nd and 31st, respectively. After running a full season in the Camping World Truck Series in 2010 (and finishing sixth in the 2011 Truck Series opener at Daytona), she decided to run a partial Truck schedule in 2011, selling her points to Chase Mattioli and declaring for the Nationwide Series title.
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