NASCAR Needs To Get Cobb Punishment Right


On Friday during the Camping World Truck Series Jennifer Jo Cobb made a huge mistake. After wrecking in the early laps of the race Cobb left her truck and walked up the track to show her displeasure with Tyler Reddick. The move was clearly done in the heat of the moment but there isn’t any excuse for her actions and in this situation NASCAR has to get the punishment right the first time.

Following the tragic accident last summer with Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr., NASCAR as well as many other racing series implemented a rule stating that drivers cannot leave their vehicles after wrecks. This rule of course does not come into play if the driver is at risk of injury by remaining in their car before medical personnel arrive. The rule was created to keep drivers from walking on a live track and putting themselves in danger of being hit.

Cobb is the first driver in NASCAR to break the rule since it was put into place last year. Following the race Elton Sawyer, director of the Camping World Truck Series released a comment (NBC Sports) about the incident.

"It’s a serious infraction. She understands what she did and there will be consequences."

NASCAR has come under fire in recent weeks for the way in which they have issued punishments for various infractions. Kasey Kahne won a truck race a couple of weeks ago and failed post-race inspection and many felt that NASCAR merely gave the team a slap on the wrist. The same sentiment was echoed by fans after NASCAR issued a warning to the No. 48 team for flared side skirts following the Sprint All-Star Race. Jimmie Johnson fans would feel a similar sentiment this past week when NASCAR announced a P1 penalty for the No. 48 team that Johnson did not agree with.

While all of those penalties are open for discussion, this one shouldn’t be. NASCAR needs to draw a deep line in the sand when it comes to Cobb and make an example out of her. If Cobb gets a slap on the wrist from NASCAR it could send the wrong message to other drivers who might be tempted to do something similar. Although Cobb admits that she forgot the rule, that really shouldn’t be an excuse.

Following the race (and meeting with NASCAR officials) Cobb spoke about the incident via NBC Sports.

"The fact that I forget is such a shame because the reason (the rule) is in place likely stems from a tragedy that none of us should forget.A huge error in judgment on my part. The fact that we had a very stern meeting will keep it top of my mind for sure."

The punishment for Cobb will most likely not come down from NASCAR until Tuesday. Given the rule that she broke and the reason the rule is in place it would make sense for NASCAR to suspend her for the next Truck Series race. A single-race suspension might seem steep to some but NASCAR cannot risk getting this particular punishment wrong given what the potential consequences could be for a driver that breaks this rule again in the future. A suspension should set the bar high enough for future drivers to not tempt fate regardless of how upset that they are in the moment.