Nascar Whelen Euro Series 2018
Location: Circuit Ricardo Tormo Valencia 13 – 14 April
Text and images byTony Hall.
At Iberianmph.com were able to interview Jennifer Jo Cobb who is over from the United States of America and driving in the EuroNascar series. Jen is driving the #10 car in Team Racing Total. She has been driving in the US in the Camping World Truck series and Nascar Xfinity. Here is what she had to say.
Tony: Jennifer, two races under your belt, I know you were learning the track and saving your car but how did you find it?
J.J.C.: It was really good fun. In the first race it was very exciting, I was passing some cars and had a big smile and had a good finish. Today I had a good start then there was the big wreck (accident involving three cars into the first corner). I managed to weave through the wrecks and debris and passed a bunch of cars and had my fastest lap of the weekend. Then in turn 11 I got hit from behind and I spun into the gravel and never really recovered from there, but the car is in one piece and I managed to finish both races on the lead lap. I don’t think anybody in the team is mad with me so we are all good!
Tony: So all in all you have enjoyed your first experience in EuroNascar?
J.J.C.: It’s been an amazing experience. Yesterday before the first race during the national anthem I had tears in my eyes because when I dreamed of being a race car driver – I’m gonna cry now, (wiping her eyes) I never dreamt I’d be able to race at this level and my family don’t have a lot of money, nor do I, and so God has put the right people in my life to make this happen. I wanted to do a little better but I knew I would improve and today I ran my fastest lap. The car was so loose, I think here in Europe you call it understeer. I could not come back to the throttle without it sliding from under me. I told them (race engineers) that if I had oversteer I would be faster because I could manipulate the car but with understeer there is nothing you can do.
Tony: You mean driving by the seat of your pants?
J.J.C.: It was fun for sure.
Tony: What about the difference between the trucks you drove in the States and this car?
J.J.C.: This car is much more forgiving you can do more with it. In the States the trucks are so on the edge that you cannot make it do something it doesn’t want to do. You have to be smooth on the steering wheel. With this car I was very smooth on the steering wheel but then I spoke to my team-mate (Justin Kunz, car #46) and watched his video and saw how much he was turning the wheel and I said ‘oh I get it now’. You drive more, you race more, you can be really more aggressive so it is much more fun.
Tony: Do you like the fact that there are three lady drivers in this championship?
J.J.C.: Yes I think it’s great. My spotter and my team owner say ‘oh go beat that one it’s a lady’. I said, ‘it’s nice for the ladies to be recognized and the legend drivers as well but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to beat all of them if I can, not just one or two of them’. In the beginning I thought the recognition was silly. I thought what is all this but then when I thought about it I realized that it is something that we are lacking in the U.S. appreciation for the drivers who are different. So in the U.S. only young drivers who bring a lot of money are recognized and so after I thought about it I understood better and really do appreciate it and I think I would love in the future for NASCAR and all racing to include more women.
Tony: EuroNascar have got two U.S. drivers: Bobby Labonte and yourself. Will we see more?
J.J.C.: I think so. Here is the thing, Bobby Labonte is a NASCAR Champion and other drivers say ‘hey Bobby’s doing that (EuroNascar), that’s great’. When they see me come over here they think ‘hey if she can do that then so can we too’. So I hope to be an example. I am already talking to some of my friends who are drivers and telling them they have to come and do this. They ask ‘is it possible?’ and I tell them ‘of course it’s possible. Come on over and I’ll introduce you to people’. So yes I think it is very likely for more U.S. drivers to join the EuroNascar series.
Tony: Jen, a cheeky question, were you the bad girl of truck racing? You had a few fines didn’t you?
J.J.C.: Oh yes, I have a bit of a reputation, they say redheads are very fiery and so I came here to the EuroNascar and on my very first lap I am under review for aggressive driving!
Tony: What about your fashion wear business? I think it is called Drivers Boutique. Is it going well?
J.J.C.: Yes it is. I sort of combine my time between men and women’s fashion into driver’s swag. I actually brought some apparel for my team here, they all look very cute in it. Good ambassadors. However, lately I have been busy doing team owner, driver and finding sponsors that I haven’t been able to devote much time to it. If you see more fashion items come out it will mean I am bored and have a lot more time.
Tony: Thank you, Jen. We wish you every success this season in EuroNascar.