Line battles to semifinal finish, claims playoff spot
MORRISON, CO – Entering Sunday’s final eliminations of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, Colo., Jason Line and the Summit Racing Camaro crew knew they had their work cut out for them racing in the thin air at Bandimere Speedway, conditions that the team had fought en route to their fifth starting position. Fortunately, the elevated temperatures the team had dealt with throughout qualifying abated slightly on Sunday, allowing Line to shave four hundredths off his best elapsed time, covering the quarter-mile in 6.948 seconds with a top speed of 197.10 mph in his first round defeat of newcomer Deric Kramer.
In the second round, Line used a nearly two hundredths of a second starting line advantage to overcome a mechanical issue and post a 7.011-second time to hold off veteran Ron Krisher, who recorded a 6.996-second time, for the holeshot win, advancing to the semifinals for the ninth time in this season’s 13 races.
The final obstacle between Line and his third Bandimere final round was No. 1 qualifier Allen Johnson, who had posted the quickest elapsed time in every qualifying session as well as the the first two rounds of eliminations. Once again, Line gained the edge at the starting line, using a nearly-perfect .007 light to leave nearly two hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent. Unfortunately, his 6.971-second, 196.64 mph pass fell just shy of holding off his rival’s 6.936-second pass, putting an early end to his day.
Even though his performance allowed the reigning Pro Stock champion to secure his position in this year’s Countdown to the Championship playoff, he was nevertheless disappointed at not being able to score his second win of the 2012 season.
“For some reason, we just never got a good handle on the mountain this weekend” said Line. “We did not test here before the race and the two cars that ended up in the final (Johnson defeated Coloradan V. Gaines for the win) did, which obviously helped them. Even though we ended up with a decent day, you hate to give any of them up.
“We’ll leave here and go to Sonoma, where the conditions better suit our tune up and hopefully we can rebound and put one of these Summit Racing Camaros in the winner’s circle.”