Charlotte: Jason Line preview

Line Set to Kick off NHRA Championship Chase at Home Track Mooresville, N.C., September 15, 2009 -- This weekend, the NHRA's Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will travel to the heart of NASCAR country, heading to the magnificent zMAX Dragway in...

Line Set to Kick off NHRA Championship Chase at Home Track

Mooresville, N.C., September 15, 2009 -- This weekend, the NHRA's Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will travel to the heart of NASCAR country, heading to the magnificent zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC for the Carolinas Nationals. As such, it will be a home race for Terrell resident Jason Line and the Summit Racing team, whose shop is a short half-hour drive from the strip in Mooresville. A sportsman drag racer in his native Minnesota, in a somewhat ironic twist it was Line's decision to move to the Charlotte area and work for a top NASCAR team that ultimately earned him the ride with which he won the 2006 NHRA Pro Stock championship.

"I moved to Charlotte in 1998 to work for Joe Gibbs Racing in their dyno room," recalled Line. "One of the places I would hang out in my spare time was Jericho Transmissions in Concord, which is owned by a fellow Minnesotan who builds drag racing transmissions. That's where I met Greg (Summit teammate Anderson), who was just getting the team started and leasing a shop next door.

"At first, a few of us from Gibbs would go over after work and offer to help out just because we thought Pro Stock was cool. As things progressed, Greg and I started talking. One thing led to another to where I went to work for KB Racing, eventually getting to drive the team's second car. Six years later, our20Summit Racing team is one of the best in the business, and Charlotte is home to arguably the best track in drag racing.

"I got to work with some great people at Gibbs, from whom I learned a lot that I use in my current job. We've remained friends, and keep track of what the other's team is doing. In fact, I'm sure a few of them will be out at the track this weekend. Best of all, my NASCAR experience helped me land a job driving a Pro Stock Car. It just couldn't have worked out any better."

However, there will be little time for reminiscing once the team arrives at the self-described "Bellagio of Drag Racing". This weekend's race marks the start of the NHRA's six-race champio nship playoff season known as the Countdown to One. Over the next two months, the top ten teams in each of the four professional divisions will battle to determine this year's champions. The points for the qualifying racers were reset after the last race in Indianapolis, with the entire field now separated by only 110 points. As if this were not enough, bonus points will now be awarded following each qualifying session, further increasing the pressure to perform on every pass. Even so, a quietly confident Line is taking it all in stride.

"Although this race is certainly important as the first one in the Countdown, I can't say we're going to treat it any differently than the previous 18," said Line. "After all, we go into every race to win, and if we do that, the points and the championship will take care of themselves. As with every other stop on the circuit, we'll be racing the racetrack as much as we are the competition, so it will be u p to us to adapt better than anyone else. Fortunately, we have a great Summit Racing crew who consistently give us great Pontiacs to drive, so I know we are up to the challenge.

"However, I can't discount the benefits of being able to stay at home and see my kids every night. At this point in the season, we don't need to be perfect, but we need to be pretty darn close, and every little bit helps. It will be nice to be home, but it will be even better for us to put one of our Summit Pontiacs in the winner's circle on Sunday night."

-credit: kbr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jason Line
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing