Jennifer Jo Cobb‘s NASCAR Cup Series début at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday is not happening. On Monday, Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass reported NASCAR did not approve her for the race, meaning Rick Ware Racing must find another driver to run the #15 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Cobb, a veteran of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, joined RWR for 25 April’s GEICO 500 last Tuesday. While she is rarely a weekly contender in her main series as she drives for her own small team, her lone Truck top ten came at sister superspeedway Daytona in 2011, while she led sixteen laps in the 2020 Talladega Truck race en route to finishing eleventh. She also has two starts at Talladega in the Xfinity Series.
According to Pockrass, NASCAR chose not to approve her for the Cup race “based on performance/quality” as the sanctioning body’s Cup driver approvals have been stricter in recent times. Pockrass also noted Cobb had been allowed to race at the top level in the past but needed reapproval as she ultimately did not run any series races in the year since.
The decision was also not a result of her being parked by NASCAR during Saturday’s Truck race at Richmond. Cobb was parked and classified in thirty-eighth after being involved in three cautions, the last of which was after she clipped Norm Benning. Although Cobb reported issues with her truck, the incident was presumably ruled as retaliation for prior contact that resulted in Cobb spinning. Pockrass emphasised NASCAR’s ruling came in the week leading up to RIchmond.
When NASCAR released the preliminary entry lists for Talladega on Monday, Cobb was not listed in RWR’s #15. A replacement has not been named.
“We’ve been informed by the sanctioning body that Jennifer is not approved to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series event at Talladega SuperSpeedway this coming weekend,” read a statement from RWR. “This is an unfortunate situation, but as a team, we support NASCAR’s decision to uphold the sanctioning body’s rules and regulations.”
She is the second driver to be barred from débuting in the Cup Talladega spring race in as many years; current RWR driver James Davison also hoped to make his maiden Cup start in the same event in 2020 but was prohibited, forcing him to move his début to Pocono. Davison finished thirtieth in the fall race and is currently not entered in any RWR car for Talladega. Similarly, Xfinity driver Jade Buford was barred from running the season opener at Daytona due to experience concerns.
Cobb is currently thirty-third in the Truck points.