Line Suffers a Heartbreaker Early in Brainerd
After having the quickest and most consistent car throughout the two days of qualifying, Jason Line and the Summit Racing team came into Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn. extremely optimistic about their chances for race day. Their performance in the first round seemed to show just how ready they were, as Line reset the track record for the second time this weekend, powering through the quarter-mile in 6.580-seconds with a top speed of 208.97 to eliminate Canadian driver Mark Martino.
Line’s reward for this strong showing was a second-round encounter with Erica Enders, who has been making steady progress in the championship standings over the last few races, and threatening to score the first win of her career. Once again, Line made a solid run, tripping the finish line timers in 6.591-seconds with a top speed of 209.04 mph. Unfortunately, it fell an exasperating 8/10,000ths of a second shy of overcoming his opponent’s starting line edge, putting an uncharacteristically early end to Line’s day, and snuffing his chances of scoring that most coveted, but elusive Brainerd win. Naturally disappointed, Line shouldered the blame for his loss, but still found positives for the team moving forward into the NHRA’s Countdown championship playoffs, which start two races from now in Charlotte, NC.
“As I have always said, to win in this category you have to be almost mistake-free, and in the second round today, we had a couple errors that cost us,” said Line. “First, I was late on the starting line, but as strong as my Summit Racing Pontiac is running at the moment, I still think we could have run her down and gotten around her. Unfortunately, I had another slight problem during the run, and even though we ran 6.591, I think we actually could have run in the 6.57’s if I hadn’t had the misstep, which would have been more than enough to go into the semis.
“Still, we’re not about to panic. As we showed here this weekend, we have two great Summit Racing Pontiacs, and a fantastic group of guys working on them. Every race we go to, I know I’ll have a car capable of winning the race, which, as a driver, gives you tremendous confidence. It certainly hurts to have it happen at this race which means so much to me, and to do it in front of all my family and friends doesn’t make it any easier. But still, it’s only one race, so we’ll put today behind us and learn from our mistakes, so it won’t happen again, making this team even stronger. Knowing that, I’m confident we will be back in the winner’s circle very soon.”