DOVER, Del. -- Jennifer Jo Cobb could become the first driver to be penalized under a rule NASCAR revised last year following the Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy.
Cobb left her wrecked truck Friday on the frontstretch at Dover International Speedway and walked about halfway across the racing surface toward Tyler Reddick's truck as Reddick and the other trucks drove by on the high line under caution. Reddick was attempting to lap Cobb when her car hooked left and crashed into the inside wall just 13 laps into the Lucas Oil 200. Reddick went on to win the race for his second victory of the season.
NASCAR created a new rule six days after Stewart struck and killed the 20-year-old Ward, who approached Stewart's sprint car during an Empire Super Sprints race Aug. 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York.
The rule is that drivers should remain in wrecked vehicles, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as fire, until safety personnel get to the driver. Also included in the rule is the directive "at no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron."
The rule is considered a "behavioral rule" with any penalties determined on a case-by-case basis. While NASCAR has generally still allowed drivers to leave their vehicles before safety personnel arrive and has allowed them to take a couple of steps to gesture at others while safety personnel watched, Cobb was the first driver to take several steps toward the vehicles running under caution.
NASCAR instructed Cobb to meet with series officials after the race Friday. Typically, if NASCAR issues any penalties, they would not be determined until the Tuesday following race week.
"We take safety very serious and discussed it with her. ... It's a serious infraction," NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director Elton Sawyer said. "She understands what she did, and there will be consequences."
Cobb, who owns her truck team and runs it on a $300,000 annual budget (the top teams spend $3-4 million a year), said she has a reputation of giving respect to the lead-lap trucks and had given Reddick plenty of room to pass her. Damage on the right-rear corner of her truck showed that Reddick made contact with her, she said.
"I completely forgot [the rule]," Cobb said. "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.
"The fact that we had a very stern meeting [after the race] will keep it top of mind with me for sure."
Cobb indicated she would be penalized for her reaction.
"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."
Reddick said he didn't believe he had contact with Cobb but, as a former owner of the car he raced on dirt tracks, he can relate to the frustration a driver/owner feels in that situation.
"We were lapped traffic early on in the race and Jennifer was trying to pass another vehicle and she looked like she was going to give me three-wide and then she closed the door, so I whoa'd up to try and avoid from getting in the back of her," said Reddick, who drives for Brad Keselowski Racing.
"She just got loose when I was right behind her and she ended up spinning and tearing her vehicle up and being out of the race early. It's just a real shame. ... I feel really bad for that happening to them and their team."