Jason Line Drives to Third Gatornationals Win Gainesville, Fla., March 14, 2010 -- Jason Line scored an exciting and emotional win on Sunday, capturing the Pro Stock title at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL. Starting...
Jason Line Drives to Third Gatornationals Win
Gainesville, Fla., March 14, 2010 -- Jason Line scored an exciting and emotional win on Sunday, capturing the Pro Stock title at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL. Starting from the seventh position, the Summit Racing Pontiac driver defeated Greg Stanfield, Ron Krisher and his teammate Greg Anderson in the early rounds before squaring off against Mike Edwards in the final, who had won the first two races of the season in dominant fashion.
Knowing he would need every advantage in order to pull off the upset, Line used an almost-perfect .004 reaction time to leave the line five hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent. Running in the less-preferred left-hand lane, he then covered the quarter-mile in 6.580-seconds with a top speed of 210.14 mph pass to score the hole-shot win over Edwards, who posted a quicker 6.556-second time in defeat. It was Line's first win of the season, 21st of his career and third at the famed Florida quarter-mile.
"I can't believe we actually won this race" said Line. "After all, twenty-four hours ago I wasn't sure we were even going to qualify, much less end up in the winner's circle tonight. We struggled all weekend, but in the end this Summit Racing team pulled it together. We didn't run great today, but we did what we needed to do.
"At the moment it seems the only way to beat Mike is with your left (clutch) foot, which is easy to say and hard to accomplish. Fortunately, that is exactly what we did today, putting our Summit car back in the winner's circle. The Gatornationals is one of our sport's biggest races, and I'm very happy to say I've now won it three times."
Ironically enough, only twenty-four hours earlier, Line had entered the final qualifying session outside the field, with some concern as to his participation on race day. Fortunately, the team made the most of the opportunity, rebounding to secure a spot in the top half of the field. On Sunday, he made his intentions clear from the opening round, emphasizing his win over a red-lighting Greg Stanfield with a .009 reaction time and his quickest and fastest pass of the weekend at 6.556 seconds. Following wins over veteran Ron Krisher and his teammate Greg Anderson (who was celebrating his birthday), Line headed to the 44th final round of his career, and his meeting with Edwards.
"You're not always going to be the fastest car, so you have to do whatever it takes to win," said Line. "We certainly weren't the best car today, but our Summit crew did a great job. I was tough on them all week, but they dug deep and made the best of what we had. We started well, but I hated racing Greg in the semis, especially on his birthday, even though we knew one of us would end up in the final. We've always raced heads-up, and today I just happened to come out on top.
"I went up for the final knowing we couldn't out run him (Edwards) so our only chance was to be the best I could be on the tree, hoping he would leave us some room. Nine times out of ten, that wouldn't work, but today it did, which is all that really matters. It's just a great day."
Shortly after the final, Line dedicated the win to his team owner, Ken Black, who remains in Las Vegas as he continues to recover from a stroke suffered last December. Although the trophy may have been handed to the driver, it will soon make its way to the Nevada desert as a special get well wish for the team's beloved leader.
"One of the most important parts of this win is that we got Ken (team owner Black) a Wally," said Line. "I spoke to him last week, and he's doing really well. In the past, I would keep my trophies and Ken would confiscate Greg's, but this one is going to him. Without him, we wouldn't be here, and he knows how we feel about him. This win is all about him.
Finally, despite today's success, Line acknowledges his team faces a tough battle as they look to contend for the 2010 championship.
"We may have won the race today, but nothing really changed," said Line. "We still have a lot of work to do to run with Mike on a consistent basis. Fortunately, as we showed today, this Summit Racing team is not afraid of a challenge, and we're going to keep working until we get back to where we need to be, putting ourselves in position to win every race we enter."