NASCAR’s only female owner-driver
Jennifer Jo Cobb is a professional racecar driver, NASCAR team owner, public speaker, entrepreneur and a corporate spokesperson. Jennifer began racing at the grassroots level of NASCAR in Kansas City in 1991. She has recently accomplished several historical feats in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series incuding: highest finishing female driver in the overall points for a season (2010); highest finish by a female driver in the series (6th place, 2011); most starts by a female driver in the series (50+ 2012) and she holds the highest place finish in a race event by a woman in any NASCAR series at the famous Daytona International Speedway.
Jennifer’s dream of being a racecar driver began when she was just 8 years old and she has climbed the ranks of auto racing despite the odds against her. Off the track, Jennifer is a business professional with media, marketing and advertising experience. She has co-hosted a television program on Time Warner’s Metro Sports TV called Inside Motorsports and had a feature that appeared weekly on the home page of NASCAR.com called All Access with JJC.
She currently competes in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series’. Jennifer is enjoying a successful speaking career comprised of her combined racing and business experience while continuing her ambition to one day compete at NASCAR’s top level, the Sprint Cup Series.
In 2011 she launched Driven2Honor (www.Driven2Honor.org), a non-profit to recognize the efforts and plights of our female military members. Driven2Honor honors a female military member (past or current) with a VIP behind-the-scenes experience at every NASCAR event in which she competes. Driven2Honor is raising funds to help house homeless female veterans.
Jennifer’s speeches draw upon her real-life experiences as a racecar driver – an unlikely career for a female! She began racing in 1991 as an underdog, namely because of her gender. For 10- years, Jennifer climbed from the bottom ranks of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, NASCAR’s grass-roots program. In 2002, Jennifer made her national racing debut amidst doubt, pressure and very low odds. Since, she has continued to chase the big dream that she stated as a little girl: to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver (formerly Winston and Nextel Cup). She is currently a full-time NASCAR driver and NASCAR’s only female owner-driver.
Jennifer’s speeches contain many anecdotes about her experiences and travels, which will have your audience laughing and at many times, relating to the trials and tribulations that she has overcome.
“When we set big objectives it is easy to veer off course. We are told to enjoy the journey and not lose sight of the goal. This is tough to do when you find your plan derailed. In 1998, after I had won several races and was becoming a local “hot shot” in the racing world, I started off a promising season by wrecking 6 weeks in a row. My family was out of money for race car repairs, my volunteer crew was tired from staying up all night to work on the car, my spirit was busted and quite frankly, I was embarrassed. So many of the wrecks were not my fault – one week a radiator hose busted, another week a weld broke on a steering component – but harsh critics don’t necessarily take that into account when bashing your reputation. I was ready to quit. My dream was dying. When I approached my father to let him off the hook he refused to allow me to quit until we had fixed the car and had a successful race. His reasoning: if it is something you love, never quit because times are tough. In fact his exact words to me were ‘if you want to quit, quit after your next win, but you are NOT quitting now. We will fix this car and you will race again and THEN you can quit!’
I shudder to think about the things I would have missed out on had I quit all those years ago: my national debut at the Kansas Speedway, my first NASCAR Busch Series start in Miami, my abundance of happy memories traveling the country, starting Driven2Honor to honor military women, finishing 6th at Daytona and being here, in front of you today, to share this message.
I follow this formula in everything I do in life, whether it be relationships, personal goals or my racing career. I have not ever regretted dismissing the notion of quitting because of adversity. Life is comprised of mountains and valleys – highs and lows. The secret is to keep moving through the valley, knowing its purpose is to teach you something for when you are at the peak of the mountain.”
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