Jason Line Wins NHRA Winternationals
Pomona, Calif., February 27, 2011 -- Jason Line and the Summit Racing team started the NHRA's 60th anniversary season in the best way possible on Sunday, capturing the Pro Stock title at the Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals in Pomona, California. Starting from the eleventh position, Line defeated V. Gaines, Vincent Nobile and teammate Greg Anderson in the opening rounds before squaring off against veteran Greg Stanfield in the final.
Knowing they would need a near-perfect performance to open the year with a win, Line and his crew responded by posting the quickest elapsed time of the weekend at 6.529-seconds with a speed of 211.89 mph to outdistance Stanfield's 6.595-second, 210.70 mph effort. This was the 22nd national event win of Line's career and second at the NHRA season-opener.
"I said before the start of the year that I wanted to win all the races, and I couldn't do that without winning here in Pomona, so I'm glad that this Summit Racing team was able to get the job done today," said Line. "All in all, today was a great day, and it was made even better by having Ken, Judy and Kenny (team owners Black) here with us. Our team had another strange off-season with Greg's transporter fire, so to come out here and do as well as we did is just awesome."
After struggling during the abbreviated qualifying at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Line's Summit Racing Pontiac was the class of the field on Sunday, posting the quickest time and top speed in three of the four rounds, an accomplishment made even more impressive by the fact that two of those runs were recorded in the less-preferred right hand lane. The final piece of the winning puzzle was a tremendous driving effort by the 2006 champion, including a pair of near-perfect reaction times.
"Even though we didn't do the greatest job in qualifying, I kept thinking of those races that Greg won last year from the bottom half of the field," stated Line. "I felt that if we could make a good run in that right lane we'd have a shot at it, and we ended up making two of the quickest runs of the day in that lane.
"Our performance is a testament to this Summit Racing crew. They gave me a fast hot rod that never varied by more than nine thousandths of a second in all four runs. It drove like a Cadillac more than a Pontiac. On top of that, I had a pretty good day behind the wheel, and we ended up having a great day."
However, Line's road to victory was far from an easy one, as in the final two rounds he had to face the drivers that had finished 1-2 in the 2010 championship standings, his KB Racing teammate and Stanfield.
"The best part is that it was a good day for this Summit/KB Racing team," said Line. "Although we certainly would have preferred to meet in the final, by racing in the semis we were guaranteed a car in the final round, and we leave here 1 and 3 in the points. Whenever I face Greg, I know I need to be as perfect as I can be, because he is hard to beat, and he has taken me out more than anyone else. It's tough racing a teammate, but I put it out of my mind that he was in the other lane, and things worked out in our favor.
"I did have a little hiccup in the final, because the tree was a little strange when Greg staged, with the light flickering a little, and then taking longer than normal to come down. It's just one of those things that happen, and it proved to be a distraction.
"He's one of the best when it comes to letting the clutch out, and I knew he was out on me by a little, so I made sure to hit all my marks and do everything we could to run him down, and fortunately, my Summit Racing Pontiac made a great run and my win light came on."
Finally, this win had added meaning for Line, as it came at the end of a stressful period, which saw him undergo back surgery and then have to take his daughter Emma and son Jack to the hospital in the last few days following minor mishaps.
"This was a strange week, both on and off the track," said Line. "I came here after having back surgery four weeks ago having made only one pass in the race car, so I wasn't sure how I would feel. On top of that, we've had to take both our children to the hospital to get stitches in the last week after they fell and cut themselves.
"As I go further into my career, I realize just how hard it is to win one of these races, and appreciate each one a little more. With everything that has gone on in the last few weeks, this win couldn't have come at a better time. What a tremendous way to start the year."
-source: kb racing