Jennifer Jo Cobb paving the way for female racecar drivers - KCTV5

Jennifer Jo Cobb paving the way for female racecar drivers, one race at a time

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Racing is a family business for Jennifer Jo Cobb. She grew up in the racing world while her father worked as a pit crew member and later on, as a driver.

Cobb was 2 weeks old when she attended her first race.

"Watching him race with limited resources, often win and beat the competition, he was really my inspiration and I wanted to be a race car driver," she said.

As a girl, it never even occurred to Cobb that she couldn't race a car. She had the inspiration and the drive to succeed. Her father agreed to let her try and fueled her dream with only one demand.

"My dad has set a precedent that, 'OK, we've seen her around the race track. She didn't just decide one day that she wanted to be a race car driver' and when I started to race my dad told me that, 'you're going to have to work on the cars' so I think that helped my competitors to respect me because they knew my dad made me earn it," she remembered.

People might expect the male competitors to dismiss a car with a woman at the wheel. But, at 175 mph, gender goes out the window.

Cobb even said she is quite comfortable asking her fellow drivers for help.

"They want to give advice because they want you to know what you're doing because you're on the race track with them at 175 mph or more," Cobb said.

Though racing has always been her dream, it hasn't always been easy. With no major wins and no family money like other drivers have, Cobb has struggled to stay on track.

But, she's grateful to her current group of supporters and she knows brighter days are ahead.

"I do believe God wouldn't put me through struggles without a breakthrough and every time I think about quitting in racing, it has resulted in something amazing," she said.

Cobb has high hopes for the SFP 250 on Saturday at the Kansas Speedway. The race is in her hometown of Kansas City, KS, but she said racing in her hometown can be extra challenging.

"The pressure you put on yourself, they call it the hometown track curse. I've seen it in other drivers, not just myself. You have to overcome the home track curse because what happens is your team knows it's very important for you so they take chances and you know it's very important," she said.

There's glass ceiling in the racing world that's been cracked, but not completely broken and drivers like Cobb are paving the way to the finish line, one race at a time.

"There have been women drivers before me, there will be many more women drivers after me and I think each one brings her own flavor to the sport and her own contribution to the sport. I'm happy not to be the first and I'm very happy not to be the last. I thank the women that paved the way before me," she said.

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