Line starts Countdown with big win
CONCORD, NC – Summit Racing driver Jason Line started his Full Throttle championship defense in impressive fashion, capturing the Pro Stock title at Sunday’s NHRA Nationals in Concord, N.C., the start of which were delayed by over five hours due to morning rain. Starting from the second position, Line defeated Frank Gugliotta, Larry Morgan and Warren Johnson in the early rounds before squaring off against current points leader Allen Johnson in the final.
Although Line was able to gain the upper hand at the start with a strong .013 reaction time, both drivers soon found themselves fighting to maintain control on the very tricky surface. Fortunately, Line was able to regain traction first, crossing the finish line in 7.518-seconds with a top speed of 200.20 mph to outdistance Johnson’s 11.800-second, 78.71 mph pass. It was Line’s second win of the season, 29th of his career, first in his new Chevrolet Camaro and first at zMAX Dragway.
“This was a big win for the Summit Racing team, and we couldn’t have started the Countdown in better fashion,” said Line. We haven’t had one for a while, so it feels pretty good. It’s tough when you get conditions like this and although the track had been pretty good for most of the day, you had to make sure to stay in the groove or else you could be in trouble. However, it was a completely different story in the final.
“We ran out of sequence because of the weather, and ended up following the fuel cars, which can be a tough situation and you have to deal with it the best you can. Obviously it’s easy for me to say since things worked out well for us, but we made the best of a not-so-great situation.
“I shouldn’t say this but Allen (Johnson) hardly ever pedals when he shakes, so all I knew was that I was getting back in it as long as I didn’t see him, and I never did. I may have destroyed the clutch in the process, but we won the race. Best of all, I was able to get my first win here at zMAX Dragway, which is huge.”
It should have come as no surprise that Line was one of dominant cars on race day, as he had been equally strong during qualifying, posting the quickest time in two of the four sessions on Friday and Saturday in securing the second starting position. He continued that trend on Sunday, posting the quickest elapsed time in every round, starting with a 6.576-second pass in his opening round victory over a red-lighting Frank Gugliotta. After defeating Larry Morgan in the second round, Line squared off against all-time Pro Stock wins leader Warren Johnson in the the semifinals, with the winner advancing to the money round.
Once again, it was a wire-to-wire victory for Line, who gained the advantage at the start and never looked back, posting the quickest elapsed time of the day at 6.554-seconds with a top speed of 211.39 mph to advance to the 62nd final round of his career, sixth of the season and second at zMAX Dragway.
“My Summit Racing crew gave me a Camaro that was bad to the bone today,” said Line. “It was simply phenomenal. We had struggled in the past few months, but we went down the race track on almost every run with no issues, and we were able to take advantage of it and come home with a huge win.”
Line also took time after the win to thank those whose support makes days like today possible.
“Naturally, we could not do this without the support of several great people and companies,” said Line. “Of course, it all starts with Ken and Judy Black, who were here with us this weekend to share in this victory. Also at the very top of the list is Summit Racing Equipment, and their many employees, who we are so proud to represent. In addition, we want to thank Chevrolet, Maxima Oils, Cometic Gaskets, Mac Tools, PAC Valve Springs, CP Carillo, K&N Filters, Speed Dawg Shift Knobs, Wiley-X and everyone else whose involvement with our race team makes days like today possible. We are glad to bring them this win.”
Finally, despite the big win, Line was quick to caution that the Countdown had just begun, and with numerous quality teams lurking in the standings, he assured all those in attendance that this fight was far from over, especially considering the tough schedule teams will faces over the next few weeks.
“This next month will be very tough on our Summit guys with three more races in as many weeks, especially considering the carnage we’ve created lately,” said Line. “Every one of them does a terrific job, and we have more bullets that we can use, so we’ll be okay. This is going to be a tough fight for the championship, so for us to start the way we did today was huge, because you have so many quality cars in the Countdown. The drivers have to drive well and the crew chiefs need to do a perfect job on every run, which is a lot to ask of anybody, but I think we’re up to the task. We’ll enjoy this win tonight and a little during the week, but tomorrow we’ll be back at work getting ready for Dallas.”