Las Vegas, NV, October 30, 2011 – Jason Line and the Summit Racing Pro Stock Racing team put the finishing touches on a remarkable season on Sunday, winning the 2011 Pro Stock championship in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. By virtue of his semifinal finish in today’s Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada, Line amassed an insurmountable 168-point lead over second-place runner Mike Edwards, allowing him to secure the title with one race remaining on the schedule. This is Line’s second Pro Stock championship, having last won the title in 2006.
I’m just the lucky guy who gets to drive this great car, and it takes every member of this KB Racing crew to get the job done.
“It feels incredible to be able to clinch the championship one race early,” said Line. “Winning for the second time means more to me because I can really appreciate just how hard it is to do. There are some people like Greg (teammate and four-time champion Anderson) who can make it look easy, but it still requires a tremendous amount of effort, orchestration and luck to make it all happen, and even then, there are no guarantees, so it means a lot to be standing here as a two-time champion.
“This championship also means more to me because of everything that has happened with Ken (team owner Black). I’m happy we were able to do it here in Las Vegas in front of Ken and his entire family, because without them and the support of a tremendous sponsor like Summit Racing Equipment, we’re not out here racing. We owe everything to them, and I feel personally indebted to Ken and Judy for everything they have done for me. It’s just a great day for the entire KB Racing team.”
Ironically, Line’s path to the 2011 title came close to being short-circuited, as complications from off-season back surgery put his participation at the season-opening Winternationals in jeopardy. However, following a brief test session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway a few days prior to Pomona, Line used a combination of a tremendous performance and quick reaction times to open the NHRA’s 60th anniversary season with a win.
He then followed that showing two weeks later by winning the prestigious Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. for the third consecutive year (and fourth overall), setting the stage for an incredible run that saw the 42-year-old Minnesota native establish a new personal mark for single-season wins (currently at six entering the season finale in Pomona two weeks from now), as well as leading the points standings for all but four of this season’s 22 races.
“This has just been a tremendous season, with very few low points, which I attribute to a lot of hard work by everyone on this Summit Racing team,” said Line. “As I have often said, I’m just the lucky guy who gets to drive this great car, and it takes every member of this KB Racing crew to get the job done. I love our guys, because they are a special group of folks, and without them, none of this happens. All season long, they have put in the extra effort, giving me a great car to drive at every race, and this year we were fortunate enough to take advantage of it.”
Even so, thanks to a late-season surge by his teammate (and defending Pro Stock champion) Greg Anderson, Line faced a 30-point deficit entering the start of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff in Charlotte, NC. However, he wasted little time in reestablishing his championship credentials, powering to the No.1 qualifying position at zMAX Dragway (the first of four consecutive poles in the Countdown), reclaiming the points lead with his runner-up finish.
One week later, Line further expanded his lead by scoring his fifth win of the season in the heat of Dallas, TX. However, it was his performance in the mineshaft conditions at Maple Grove Raceway that truly cemented his claim to this year’s title. After claiming his seventh No. 1 qualifying position, he rewrote the record books during eliminations, posting the four quickest elapsed times in Pro Stock history en route to the win, including a new national record 6.477-second blast in the second round, allowing him to score 147 points (out of a maximum 150), establishing a lead he would never relinquish.
“Our performance in Reading was certainly pivotal towards our winning the championship,” said Line. “There is no doubt that we’ve had a tremendous run in the Countdown, which is a testament to the hard work done by this entire Summit Racing team. Still, in drag racing, like many other things, timing is everything, and the good days that I had were aided even more by the misfortune of some of my competitors.
“For example, in any of those finals I could have been racing Greg or Mike, and we’d be going down to the last race in Pomona fighting for every last point. However, we were able to put ourselves in the position of clinching the title here this weekend, and fortunately we got the job done, making this a very special day. After all, these moments are few and far between, with a lot of folks never getting to feel the way we do right now, and to have done it twice is very exciting.”
Line also made sure to acknowledge the invaluable participation of those whose continued support allowed them to compete. Finally, he was quick to point out that work still remained to be done before the 2011 season comes to a close in two weeks in Pomona, Cal. as he looked to add one final piece to an already stellar season.
“As everyone knows, we couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the support of a great sponsor, and we are so fortunate to have one in Summit Racing Equipment,” said Line. “They are a tremendous organization who has stood behind us for many years, and we are proud to represent them. As I have often said, their goals mirror those of this race team, and I am so glad we were able to bring them another championship.
“However, even though we have won the title, this year is not over. We still have a race to run in two weeks in Pomona, and with the pressure off, we’re going to go there and have fun. After all, I’d like nothing more than to cap this season with my seventh win – it would be the perfect ending to a very special year.”