Jason Line Wins Third Consecutive Gatornationals, Opens 2011 with Back-to-Back Wins
Pomona, Calif., March 13, 2011 – Jason Line and the Summit Racing team continued their torrid start to the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing season on Sunday, winning the Pro Stock title at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. Starting from the fourth position, Line defeated Vincent Nobile, Erica Enders and No. 1 qualifier Rodger Brogdon in the early rounds before squaring off against his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson in the final.
Throughout their careers, the KB Racing teammates have been known for their close races, and today’s run was no exception. Although Line was able to get jump on the starting line, Anderson made an exceptional run in the less-preferred left hand lane, powering through the quarter-mile in 6.545-seconds with a top speed of 212.43 mph. However, Line’s equally strong 6.554-second, 211.96 mph pass was just enough to win, crossing the finish line eighteen thousandths of a second ahead of his hard-charging teammate. This was Line’s second win of the season and fourth overall at Gainesville Raceway including the last three years in a row.
“It’s always good when you race your teammate in the final,” said Line. “There’s no pressure because you know one way or the other the team is going to win. On the other hand, only one of us can go home with the Wally, so you try just as hard.
“I unintentionally snookered Greg, because my top bulb blinked a little bit just as it had for Stanfield in Pomona. As a result, it was a really long tree, which caught both of us off guard. Neither one of us had a particularly great light, but mine was just a little better, putting my Summit Racing Pontiac in the winner’s circle.”
After setting career-best marks in both elapsed time and top speed in qualifying in cooler conditions, crew chiefs were sent scrambling by Sunday’s weather, where temperatures soared into the high 70’s, requiring a completely different set-up. Just as they had in Pomona two weeks ago, the KB Racing brain trust of Rob Downing, Tommy Utt and Jeff Perley made the right decisions, with Line’s 6.520-second, 211.89 mph run against rookie Vincent Nobile among the best in the class. It was a similar situation in the second round, with Line using the quickest pass of the round to defeat Erica Enders.
The final obstacle between Line and the 50th final round of his career was No. 1 qualifier Rodger Brogdon, who had claimed the national elapsed time record in qualifying. Fortunately, Line had the luxury of lane choice and chose the right hand side of the track. When the lights went green, the 2006 Pro Stock champion left the line almost three hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent and never looked back, with his 6.545-second, 212.23 mph pass easily outdistancing his rival, setting the stage for his final round match-up against his Summit Racing teammate, who would be celebrating his birthday on Monday. However, Line was not about to give him an early gift.
“I was actually more concerned about Brogdon in the semis than I was about Greg in the final, since they had struggled with his car all day” admitted Line. “To be honest I wasn’t quite too sure how Greg’s car was going to run, because they had made wholesale changes to it trying to get it down that left lane. Obviously, they made the right call, because that 6.54 in that lane in the heat of the day was the meanest run of the weekend.
“At the same time, my Summit Racing Pontiac lit the tires and went to the right when I left the line. I still tried to shift as well as I could and hung on, hoping for the best, and things worked out in my favor. I felt just a little guilty beating Greg the day before his birthday, but then I realized he’d do the same to me if he could, and he’ll have the chance later this year. He’s a tough racer, which is why he’s the champ, and if you want to beat him, you have to be on your game, and fortunately today we were. This KB Racing team once again did a phenomenal job, giving me a great hot rod to drive.”
Line also took pride in scoring consecutive wins for only the second time in his career, as well as claiming his fourth win at the Gatornationals, one of the most prestigious races on the NHRA circuit. He also made sure to give credit where due, as well as expressing concern for stable mate Ronnie Humphrey, whose performance did not match those of the two KB Racing entries. Finally, he looked forward to sharing his success with team owner Ken Black, who the team will see at the next event in Las Vegas.
“It’s an incredible feeling to win the first two races of the year, as well as three consecutive Gatornationals,” said Line. I think it shows just how strong our team is. We do need to get Ronnie’s Summit Racing/Genuine Hotrod Hardware Pontiac tuned up, so it can be in contention for wins just like Greg’s and my cars.
“The really good news is that we’re headed to Las Vegas, which is not only a great track for us, but Ken Black’s hometown. Since he had been to the last three races, it seemed strange to be here without him today, although I know it won’t be long before he’s back fanning the door after the burnout. It’s going to be fun to have him, Judy and Kenny with us, and we hope to keep this incredible streak going. I couldn’t ask for a better start to the year – we have a great group of guys on this team, and I think that there is more to come.”
-source: kb racing