Line Races to the Final Round in Charlotte, Moves Up in the Standings
Mooresville, N.C., September 15, 2013 – The first race of NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship netted near-perfect results for Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line. The Mooresville, N.C., resident earned his first No. 1 qualifier award of the season at the sixth annual Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals and powered his silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro to the final round on raceday to move up to third in the series standings.
“It was a good day today, but I would be a lot happier if it would have been just a little bit better,” said Line, who entered the event as the No. 6 seed in the championship chase and was looking to defend the title he earned in Charlotte one year ago.
Line launched into the weekend with a hot rod to be reckoned with and picked up bonus qualifying points in each round en route to the 34th pole position of his career and fifth at Charlotte’s venerable zMAX Dragway. On Sunday, Line continued to show muscle with a car that was either first- or second-quickest in each round of eliminations.
In the opening act, Line was .022 at the starting line and 6.563, 210.70 mph at the finish line stripe to top veteran Pro Stock pilot Warren Johnson. In round two, a remarkable 6.546 pass at a booming 211.49 mph flashed on the scoreboard as Line obliterated the traction-troubled run put forth by opponent V. Gaines, and the dominating pass would stand as low e.t. of the meet and top speed of eliminations.
KB Racing driver Line slowed some in the semifinals, but his 6.579, 210.73 was still second-quickest of the round and effectively put Erica Enders-Stevens on the trailer. Unfortunately, Line’s winning run was .003-second slower than that of Jeg Coughlin, and he forfeited lane choice to his final-round opponent on a day where choice of position on the racetrack proved pivotal.
“Today it was a one-lane racetrack out there, and losing lane choice going into the final was painful,” said Line. “We knew it was critical, and to be honest, even though our run in the semifinals was one of the quickest, it was not a good run. The win light came on and I thought, ‘Well, that’s great,’ but I knew we had lost lane choice.”
Although Line had been respectable at the starting line for most of the day and launched either ahead of or right alongside his opponents in each of the preceding rounds, his reaction time in the final round proved to be the culprit in a disheartening loss. Coughlin left first, clocking a .026-second reaction time to Line’s .052, and although Line cleared the finish line with a quicker 6.578 at 210.97 mph that was the most impressive run of the day in the left lane, Coughlin turned his starting line advantage into a 6.583, 210.05 victory.
“We could have and should have won today. The silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro was the best car out there this weekend, no question,” said Line, who competed in the 63rd final round appearance of his career and second of the season (he won in Houston this past spring).
“I feel like we have had the best car for a couple of weeks, but we just haven’t been able to show it. This weekend, we did. They knew we were here. To outrun him in the final, I’m obviously proud of that. We have a fast hot rod, and it’s unfortunate that I didn’t come through better as a driver. But as a team, we did great. We’re definitely going to be tough from here on out, and that feels good.”