Of all the rules in all the world, you’d think remaining in your vehicle after a wreck while NASCAR drivers whiz around a hot track might be the easiest one to remember. Unfortunately for driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, who crashed out at Dover International Speedway and proceeded to wander onto the track to shake her fist at another driver during Friday’s Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200, that basic rule of common sense slipped her mind.
“I completely forgot [the rule],” Cobb told ESPN after the incident, which she escaped unharmed. “And the fact that I forgot is such a shame because the reason it is in place likely stems from a tragedy that none of us should forget. … It was a huge error in judgment on my part.”
Indeed, the rule emerged last year after Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart killed 21-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. at a local event in upstate New York last August. Ward had left his car after the wreck and wandered onto the track to chastise other drivers when Stewart’s car came around and clipped him. Stewart was not found criminally liable for the terrible accident, but to make sure something like that never happened again, NASCAR added a new rule to its books.
The new rule was very specific when it comes to walking on the racing surface or approaching another moving vehicle — don’t do it.
“At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron,” it says.
Cobb did, however, making a nail-biter of a race downright terrifying just 13 laps in. Cobb’s truck was being lapped by eventual race winner Tyler Reddick when Cobb’s truck hooked left and crashed along the inside wall. To retaliate, Cobb left her vehicle and wandered about halfway up the track on the front stretch, while other trucks continued to pass her by, luckily, at cautionary speeds (which, by the way, are still fast). Spectators, meanwhile, were left shaking their heads ,while NASCAR is now poised to make Cobb the first person to be penalized under the new rule.
“We take safety very serious and discussed it with her. … It’s a serious infraction,” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director Elton Sawyer told ESPN. “She understands what she did, and there will be consequences.”
“We’ll see what happens,” Cobb said. “There’s repercussions, and I hope it didn’t make a bad day worse. It wasn’t that I knew and didn’t care. I forgot. In the moment you’re just like, ‘What just happened?’ … I wasn’t thinking about any of that. I was just mad.”
Cobb says she won’t forget again.
“The fact that we had a very stern meeting [after the race] will keep it top of mind with me for sure.”