Line Defends Pro Stock Title at Route 66 Raceway Pontiac Wins Fifth Consecutive Race JOLIET, Ill., June 12, 2005 - Last year's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Rookie of the Year Jason Line got his first career Pro Stock win at Route 66 Raceway, and...
Line Defends Pro Stock Title at Route 66 Raceway
Pontiac Wins Fifth Consecutive Race
JOLIET, Ill., June 12, 2005 - Last year's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Rookie of the Year Jason Line got his first career Pro Stock win at Route 66 Raceway, and to commemorate that historic win, the Summit Racing Pontiac driver decided to go out and do it again in today's final eliminations at the 8th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Line defeated Jeg Coughlin in the finals in a near photo finish for his sixth career win. The victory was some consolation for his loss to Dave Connolly in the finals of yesterday's King Demon Crown special event for the top eight Pro Stock qualifiers over the past year.
"I don't know what it is about this place, but I think we need to race here every week," said Line. We just need to fix the weather a little bit. It's a great track, and as far as the race facility itself, it's probably the nicest place we go to all year. I kind of had a good feeling coming here. I really like this place and I'm really comfortable here."
Line reached the 12th finals of his young career by defeating Greg Stanfield in Round 1, and then got a small bit of revenge by defeating Connolly in his Chevy Cobalt in Round 2. In the semifinals he bested Coughlin's teammate Richie Stevens to reach the money round for the fourth time this season. Coughlin had defeated Line's KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson to make his first final-round appearance of the year. In the finals Coughlin had a slight advantage at the start with a .023 reaction time to Line's .039, but Line powered his Pontiac down the quarter-mile and ran Coughlin down with an elapsed time of 6.783 seconds at 203.09 mph to Coughlin's 6.800 e.t. at 202.48 mph. The margin of victory was .0015 seconds.
"I normally don't look over, but after I put it in high gear I kind of looked over and I could see I was gaining on him just a little bit. I really thought I was going to get there first, and I looked over immediately and saw the win light and was pretty excited. I could see I was gaining on him, but I also thought he was ahead. I thought I was going to get there first, but at 200 mph it's pretty hard to tell. It was cool though, especially the first weekend with Summit Racing as a sponsor."
Coming to Route 66 Raceway with a string of three consecutive wins, two-time defending Pro Stock champion Anderson made it to the semifinals which was good enough to vault him to the top of the Pro Stock points standings for the first time this season. Line's victory was the fifth consecutive Pro Stock win for Pontiac.
"I'd say it was a pretty good weekend," said Anderson. "I still seem to be frustrated with this racetrack. I can't seem to close the deal here, but the good thing is we've got another race here. If I look back in the rearview mirror four or five races ago, I was in tough shape. Right now we're on top of the points and Jason won. That's four races in a row for KB Racing and Pontiac, and it's a great feeling to know if I happen to slip up, Jason's right there to pick up the pieces, or if he happens to slip up maybe I can pick up the pieces. We've got a great one-two punch, and that makes me feel pretty darn good. Even though I made a little bit of a mistake today and I didn't get the job done, I feel great for him and I feel great for our team. And the first race for Summit Racing on Jason's car, so I feel great for them. It seems like every time they sign up somebody new, they go out and win. They're a great company and they deserve it."
In Funny Car, the upset of the day, and probably the season, was Dale Creasy Jr.'s first-round win over 13-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force. Creasy beat Force off the line and never looked back as he drove his Chevy Monte Carlo to an elapsed time of 4.891 seconds at 310.34 mph to Force's 5.084 e.t. at 244.78 mph. Creasy didn't get much of a chance to savor his success as he lost to Jeff Arend in the second round as Arend was one of two Chevy Monte Carlos to make the Funny Car semifinals pairings. Arend fell to Eric Medlen in the semis with a 4.890-seconds pass at 291.57 mph to Medlen's 4.835 e.t. at 323.58 mph. Tommy Johnson Jr. also put his Chevy Monte Carlo in the semifinals before losing to Gary Scelzi with an elapsed time of 4.810 seconds at 323.66 mph to Scelzi's 4.802 e.t. at 309.06 mph. Scelzi went on to the victory by defeating Eric Medlen in the finals with a winning elapsed time of 4.740 seconds at 330.80 mph to Medlen's 4.805 at 321.73 mph.
Scott Kalitta won Top Fuel by defeating Rod Fuller in the finals with an elapsed time of 4.518 seconds at 330.15 mph to Fuller's 4.602 e.t. at 323.58 mph.
In the Sportsman ranks, Bob Newberry of Schenectady, N.Y., drove his Valvoline Chevy Monte Carlo to the Top Alcohol Funny Car title, and Tony Stephenson from Willow Springs, N.C., won in Comp Eliminator in his '02 Chevy Cavalier.
The next stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the 36th annual K&N Filters NHRA Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., on June 16-19.