I was watching the start of the Nationwide race at Bristol on Saturday and at the start Jennifer Jo Cobb just got out of her car and quit. The details were sparse and the story got old pretty quickly as ABC moved on to the cars that were actually racing. Here is what happened.
â€œFive minutes before the race, she took her crew and left. We had a crew meeting here on Friday morning and I explained to everyone what our purpose was here this weekend. In Vegas we destroyed a car through Kyle Buschâ€™s accident. 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. We already had our entry in for here and California, so rather than try to roll this and lose this, we decided weâ€™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.
While I am a long suffering Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, I am always fascinated by the lower rung teams that seem to eek out a living at the bottom of the standings with a combination of pulling a start and park, scraping by with no primary sponsors, and the odd top 20 finish when it all comes together. Itâ€™s a tough way to make a living and as the article showed, itâ€™s not that clear cut. I can understand Jennifer Jo Cobb wanting to race, I can also see how her owner with only one car wants to avoid running in the chaos that is Bristol. After taking a look at the 2nd Chance Racing website, the team has only two sponsors which isnâ€™t going to pay many bills, especially when one of them seems to be a web hosting deal for $65/month.
As for the driver, you have Jennifer Jo Cobb starting a clothing line to support her racing ambitions. Running a business is hard enough but running a business that needs to be profitable enough to fund a racing team is even harder. While Nationwide teams have lower budgets than Sprint Cup teams (in 2009 Dale Earnhardt said it would cost $150,000 to build a Nationwide car plus crew, driver, tires, transportation, and overhead costs), it is an expensive hobby and while teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing make a lot of money, not a lot of other teams are and at the bottom rung of teams, itâ€™s almost impossible. It sucks for teams like 2nd Chance Racing an makes it really hard for drivers like Jennifer Joe Cobb. At the same time, these owners know what they are getting into and without sponsorship, starting and parking seems to be the only option available.