Race Weekend Central

Jennifer Jo Cobb Back At The Track After “Really Tough Personal Stuff”: Looking To Rebuild Truck Program In 2024

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jennifer Jo Cobb failed to qualify for the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season opener. But for the former full-time driver, who runs her own independent race team, just making it to the racetrack was a victory in itself.

Daytona International Speedway marked just the sixth time Jo Cobb has been back in a Truck since scaling back from full-time competition following the 2021 season. That marked the beginning of a rough two-year stretch through which her then-husband, Carlos Eduardo “Eddie” Troconi-Ortiz, wound up convicted for an assault that happened in the fall of 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway involving Cobb’s spotter at the time, Clayton Hughes.

The incident left Hughes, who was in a relationship with Cobb, battling permanent, disabling injuries. As the drama and resulting trial played out in public, the No. 10 truck mostly sat on the sidelines, qualifying for just two races since the start of 2022: at Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

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“I went through some really tough personal stuff,” Cobb told Frontstretch on Friday (Feb. 16) after failing to make the race at Daytona. “I didn’t even have the desire to be at the racetrack, to be honest. But I knew I wasn’t done. It’s just… I had to heal. I really had to heal.”

Now, Cobb is back, armed with a positive attitude and a fresh outlook on her future in the sport. While the No. 10 was 37th fastest out of 40 trucks looking to qualify, 0.227 seconds short of making the field, simply getting that speed out of the truck was impressive considering the limited budget and time away from the track.

“We had so many issues in practice,” Jo Cobb explained. “But I’m so proud of my team. There’s a lot of volunteers… and we [still] fixed them all. The car drove like a dream and we picked up almost a second.

“So, I think if we had had practice go well, it would have been fine. But every time I come to a race, every time I come to a track these past couple of years I’ve worked on perfecting the car.”

Cobb also picked up financial backing from GAC Seeds, a contact she made at the track, and gained traction toward signing future sponsorship. Going forward, after turning age 50 last season her strategy in pursuing funding has changed, along with understanding the challenge.

“I’m getting there,” she said of her NASCAR return. “And I finally have that desire and that hunger to go after sponsors again. Because that’s what it’s going to take… it’s hard to sell a sponsorship, especially as a small team. Not a lot of TV time and I don’t want TV time when I’m doing bad. So that’s OK.

“So you have to be creative and sell that sponsor on other things. Like, I have an amazing fan base that I am so grateful for. Social media is pretty big for us and all that. But here’s the deal that I can get behind that I can’t wait to start promoting and looking for. I turned 50 this year. And there are not many drivers over 50, especially a woman.

“And I just want to continue to send that message of empowerment that no matter the age, no matter the gender… you’re not done. I’m in better shape than I was in three or four years ago. So, I want to find sponsors that target women or female athletes over 50. And I think they’re out there.”

Cobb maintains that’ll help her in an age where sponsorship stealing is rampant across the garage. And she’s realistic about the schedule this year; for now, only Kansas and Talladega appear secure while conversations continue about expanding it.

“I’m hoping that Kansas – I really wanted to do Vegas but it’s probably too late for that – but, yeah, I would like to do more than two (the number of races she attempted in 2023),” she explained. “And I have a decent intermediate truck that just needs to be worked on properly. I believe this is a good speedway truck and I’m going to replace a bunch of suspension components and just make it better.

“My goal is to have two really nice trucks, a speedway and an intermediate, and then run as many times as I can a year with those. And then build from there. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be back full-time someday.”

Until then?

“By not having the grind of every single week, we can start to be more and better prepared,” she concluded. “I’m excited to take this truck and go perfect, massage it, and try and make it even better for Talladega.”

Follow @NASCARBowles

About the author

The author of Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 40+ staff members as its majority owner and Editor-in-Chief. Based outside Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild. He most recently consulted with SRX Racing, helping manage cutting-edge technology and graphics that appeared on their CBS broadcasts during 2021 and 2022.

You can find Tom’s writing here, at CBSSports.com and Athlonsports.com, where he’s been an editorial consultant for the annual racing magazine for 15 years.

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Joshua Farmer

She was cheating on her husband with her spotter?

Tracey Hughes

Maybe Mr. Bowles should interview Clayton’s kids and ex wife.

Tracey Hughes

Have Mr. Bowles do a more honest interview by contacting the other parties. She is not the victim.

Ironmike

No matter the past, you have to choose to make things right. I don’t agree with affairs but these people can learn from their mistakes. We are not to judge.

Dlc

“Didn’t have the desire to be at the race track…”??? She had no choice, she didn’t have the funds or sponsorship. I think any company who sponsors her would be a huge mistake…they would be tainted for supporting adulterous relationship. She clearly was cheating on her husband with a married man…everyone at the track knows that. 🙄

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