Line Ready to Take a Shot at Third NHRA Title in Pomona
Mooresville, N.C., November 5, 2013 – Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line is only 71 points back from first place, and as the season closer kicks off this weekend at the 49th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the two-time Pro Stock world champion is ready to turn up the wick and chase a third world title.
“All you can do is hope for the best,” said Line. “We’ve done our homework, and we have a great team and great support. Now it’s up to us to go and try to win the race, and we’re sure going to try to hold up our end of the deal. We’re heading to a place where the Summit Racing team has traditionally done really well, so that is certainly a comfort.”
Line was on course for a banner year as the Countdown to the Championship began in Charlotte just five races ago, and the Mooresville, N.C.-based driver qualified No. 1 at his home track and raced to the final round to move up from sixth to third in the Pro Stock standings at a critical juncture. At the very next race in Dallas, the second in the championship chase, Line won and took over sole possession of the points lead for the first time in 2013. But after that, a strange chaos set in.
Surprisingly, the points leader qualified in the bottom half of the field and bowed out in the first round in St. Louis, and he dropped back to third place. Then, the seasoned driver with 31 national event titles on his scorecard returned with a flash in Reading, qualifying on the pole and recording a semifinals finish. Determined to gain even more ground as the final two races of the season approached, Line and the KB Racing crew ventured out for a test session not too far from home in North Carolina, and that’s when things took a very abrupt and challenging turn.
The conditions were cool and the track required more finessing than normal on that Thursday at Rockingham Dragway, and although experienced in all sorts of conditions, Line made the smallest of errors and lost control of the silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro that had been so powerful in the latter portion of the season. Line crashed, and the car could not be repaired in time for the Las Vegas race. With limited options, Team Summit made the best of what they had. Line took over the white Camaro previously piloted by teammate Greg Anderson, while Anderson settled back into the red Summit Racing Camaro.
In Las Vegas, as predicted, Line showed grit and the level of determination widely associated with the Summit Racing group and a team who has dominated the ultra-competitive category in multiple seasons. He made exceptional runs during qualifying and settled into the No. 5 spot before socking away a round win on Sunday and moving up one position, to second, in the Mello Yello Pro Stock standings. Now, with the final race of the season staring him in the face, Line is prepared to fight for the crown that once seemed so easily within reach. Wisely, Line is mentally refueled after taking a short break from the normal routine.
“To be honest, I’ve lived like a normal person this past week,” said Line. “I spent a little time with my family and worked on some stuff that I wanted to work on just for a change of pace and to try to think about something else for a little bit. By our KB Racing standards, it’s been a somewhat frustrating year. Wrecking that car – for me, that was devastating, both financially and obviously in regard to the timing. It couldn’t have been worse; it took us all year to get a good racecar, and to get one that was happy, so to have one that was in contention for the championship and then destroy it was beyond frustrating.”
The weather in Pomona looks to be bright and cool, and for Line, this could play out to be ideal as he travels to a racetrack where he and Anderson have shared so much success before. Line has four No. 1 qualifier awards and been to four finals at the venerable facility. He has two Pomona wins, both at the season-opening Winternationals. The only driver who has been able to stop Line in the final round has been Anderson, and both times it was at the NHRA closer.
“Regardless of what happens with the championship, this weekend could very possibly be fast, and that’s a lot of fun for us,” said Line. “Pomona is one of my favorite places to go. You get there at the beginning of the year, and you’re excited. Then you end the year and if it’s been a long year – like this one – you’re really happy that it’s done. But it’s always a good time, and for me, it’s always a place that I enjoy racing.”