Jason Line Drives Pontiac GTO to No. 1 Qualifying Spot and Track Record E.T. at Pomona Raceway Greg Anderson's Pontiac is No. 2; Kurt Johnson's Chevy Cobalt is No. 4; Mike Edwards' Pontiac Qualifies for Every Race; Jim Yates, Greg ...
Jason Line Drives Pontiac GTO to No. 1 Qualifying Spot and Track Record
E.T. at Pomona Raceway
Greg Anderson's Pontiac is No. 2; Kurt Johnson's Chevy Cobalt is No. 4; Mike Edwards' Pontiac Qualifies for Every Race; Jim Yates, Greg Stanfield
POMONA, Calif., Nov. 11, 2006 - Jason Line captured his seventh raceday pole of the season (his third straight) and broke the Pomona Raceway Pro Stock track e.t. record today at the 42nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California Finals. The 2006 POWERade champion and driver of the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO took No. 1 qualifying honors with a 6.663-second run at 207.59 mph.
"Both Summit Racing Pontiac's are running great and Rob (Downing) and Jeff (Perley) and all the guys are doing a fantastic job," said Line. "It was a little faster tonight after the cloud cover came in and my run could have been as low as 6.65. They were definitely the best conditions of the weekend, both track-wise and weather-wise.
"As far as the car goes, we're not really doing anything different, but we are working on Greg's car trying to get it to run like mine, and we're getting closer to doing that. His run in the right lane was a pretty sporty run. We share everything, and we're one team that has two racecars. Sometimes we make it look easy, and it's really not. When we don't qualify one and two we're disappointed, and it's not because we don't share information, it's because we didn't figure it out. Every weekend is a chess match with the racetrack trying to figure it out. Sometimes we win - sometimes we lose. So far this race, we're winning."
It was the 11th career No. 1 qualifying effort for Line and his second straight at the NHRA Finals. He was runner-up to Anderson at this event in 2004.
"We have really good people on this team and that's been the key to our four championships," said Line. "Everybody does a great job and we're all focused toward a common goal. It truly is one team with two racecars, and that's hard to do, but we've actually done it."
With a 6.668 e.t. at 207.59 mph, Greg Anderson's Pontiac is in the No. 2 spot behind teammate Line. It was the seventh time this year that the two Summit Racing Pontiac teammates have qualified one and two (Line with three and Anderson with four).
"We brought this brand new Pontiac GTO to Las Vegas and the reason we brought it out there was because it was a duplicate of Jason's car," said Anderson. "We didn't quite get the setup on it right away, but every round we're getting closer, and today it got quicker on every run. We were within a hundredth of Jason so obviously we're gaining on it, and if we can make my GTO as fast as Jason's then we'll be pretty doggone happy. He has a heck of a rocket ship, but we've gained on it and hopefully we'll have four more runs tomorrow to catch up."
Anderson is a two-time winner of the NHRA Finals (2003-04) and also won the season-opening NHRA Winternationals here last February.
"Winning here tomorrow would be a nice bookend on the season and a personal morale boost," said Anderson. "It's been a little slim for me this year and I'm hungry to get another win, just if it's to raise my confidence level a little bit. I'm very proud of Jason, though. He's put up a terrific effort this year and every time I've bumped up against him here lately, he's mopped the floor with me. Some friendly revenge would be nice and would give me a little to brag about over the winter - he's certainly going to have a lot to brag about. But we have to get there first. We have two great Pontiac GTOs and I think if we can get them both to the finals then it would be an exciting way to end the year."
Kurt Johnson has the best-qualified Chevrolet in the 16-car Pro Stock field after the driver of the ACDelco Cobalt stopped the timers with a 6.688 second run at 206.23 mph. That put the 43-year-old Johnson in the fourth spot, his best raceday starting position since the U.S. Nationals. Johnson s hoping to nail down his 12th elite-five finish and is a three-time winner of the NHRA Finals (1997, 2000, 2002).
"I think we have a good racecar for tomorrow," said Johnson. "We made some changes for the last run and the ACDelco Chevrolet seemed to like it to the eighth mile. The motor seems to have a governor on it, it just runs the same every time regardless of what we do - carburetors, timing, it's just stuck. But we're pleased to run a 6.68 after going a 6.719, 6.718 and then pick up two hundredths. The car's been going straight, and to be honest, this Cobalt's been a pleasure to drive. Tomorrow, I'll take my foot off the clutch, cross my fingers and hopefully the light will come on in our lane. I'm pretty comfortable with the car - it's really tunable right now. We're within two hundredths of the fast cars out there and there's always the tree."
Tommy Lee is qualified in the No. 5 spot in a Chevy Cobalt, and Young Life Pontiac driver Mike Edwards, who is also looking to clinch an elite-five finish, is sixth in the field with a 6.693 second e.t. at 207.11 mph. Edwards was one of only four Pro Stock drivers (including Line, Anderson and Allen Johnson) to qualify for every race in 2006.
"We got the first part done today, even though we struggled, but getting qualified is what counts right now," said Edwards. "To be one of only four teams to do that at every race this year says a lot about the guys on this team. That's tough to do for anybody out here so I'm really tickled. You have to get qualified before you can race and I'm ecstatic about the comeback we made this season.
"We've struggled with the Young Life Pontiac this weekend, just changed about everything. For some reason we're battling down low, but we got the top end covered so we'll see what happens. Hopefully we'll go a round or two and hang on to a top-five finish."
Jeg Coughlin is qualified seventh, Dave Connolly is qualified ninth and Ron Krisher is qualified 10th - all in Chevy Cobalts.
"That's a tight group of cars," said Connolly. "The car went left at the hit of the throttle and got out of the groove. There isn't much of a groove here anyway. It's disappointing because we had run in the top four or five all weekend and now we lost lane choice for the first round. The good news is we know we can run better Sunday. We drew a tough driver(Stanfield), but they are all tough in this category."
"I was surprised that more cars didn't pick up more in that last session like we did," Coughlin said. "It worked out great for us because we were able to move up on the ladder, which is always a good thing. There are still improvements that can be made but I would expect we'll go into race day with pretty much the same tune-up we used there in the last session.
"The Safety Safari always does an outstanding job of preparing the racetrack but the facts are that some of the racetracks favor one lane over the other. It seems the left side is slightly better here but that can always change, even during the race. The nice thing is that we have lane choice in the first round so we can pick which side we want. The trick will be to maintain lane choice as eliminations move along."
Greg Stanfield is qualified eighth, Tom Martino finished in the 11th position and Jim Yates was 16th - all three in Pontiac GTOs.
"We locked up a top-10 finish and that's pretty good for us," said Stanfield. "With the budget we have and the small team, we're pretty happy with that. Now we'll try and get our act together and see if we can't take out some big dogs - Connolly and Jason (Line). It's there, we just have to hit on the setup. We hit it a little bit this morning, but we left some on the table - this track is pretty tricky, for us anyway. We burned up a rear-end on that last run trying something that didn't work. But when you're trying to get to the top you have to do some things to get there and this time it didn't work out."
"We felt we needed to make changes and we did -- to the clutch, transmission, rear end and carburetors," said Yates. "When you do that, you are likely to get the tune-up right about half the time. The car ran better than it had been and there is more left in it. We are excited going into Sunday. We have a great baseline tune-up for race day and we feel we can win some rounds. We want to put an exclamation point on the end of the season."
-credit: gm racing