Phoenix: GM Racing Saturday summary

Line Makes it an Even Dozen as Pro Stock Pole Winner at Phoenix Pontiac Driver Claims 12th Career No. 1 Qualifier on Record-Setting Day PHOENIX, February 24, 2007 - When the dust cleared from a record-setting day of qualifying at Firebird ...

Line Makes it an Even Dozen as Pro Stock Pole Winner at Phoenix
Pontiac Driver Claims 12th Career No. 1 Qualifier on Record-Setting Day

PHOENIX, February 24, 2007 - When the dust cleared from a record-setting day of qualifying at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Pontiac driver Jason Line found himself atop the Pro Stock heap for his first No. 1 Qualifier of the season and the 12th of his young career. The 2006 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champ drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to a track-record elapsed time of 6.635 seconds at 209.33 mph to claim the top spot after four rounds of qualifying for tomorrow's eliminations at the 23rd annual Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals. He edged Richie Stevens in a Dodge who had an elapsed time of 6.640 seconds at 207.18 mph.

"Obviously this morning's run was a lot better than the afternoon run," said Line. "but we're really struggling with the racetrack. Honestly, if we can make a nice run I think we'll really lay down a big number, but we're struggling in the first part of the track. All in all you can't complain - we're on the pole and that's about as good as it gets. But I think racers in general, no mater how good the run is, you come back and you nit-pick because that's what's going to make you better than the next guy. There are some other cars running just as quick as we are, or at least pretty close, and obviously that last session some were faster, so we have to do a better job.

"We're very concerned for tomorrow. You're not going to be able to make runs like we made this afternoon and win the race, that's for sure. We're going to have to get our act together and do a better job. It's a tricky racetrack, and we just have to figure it out, that's all. Hopefully we can do that for tomorrow. Today's conditions are similar to what we're going to have tomorrow, so this is what we're going to have to get down and we're going to have to figure it out."

Line's teammate, three-time Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson, shared similar concerns despite posting the fourth-quickest elapsed time of 6.650 seconds at a track-record and career-best speed of 209.49 mph. He'll face fellow Pontiac driver Tom Martino in the first round of tomorrow's eliminations.

"This track is throwing 90 percent of the cars fits, including our two cars," said Anderson. "We're struggling hard, there's no question about it. We're shaking the tires in low gear really bad just like 90 percent of the other cars. We're not the only one, but that doesn't make it right and that doesn't make you feel any better. You've got to figure it out. My car especially has been way out to lunch, but we're trying. We're just making the wrong moves. But we've got to figure out before tomorrow, first round, or we're going to be loading up early.

"If you make it down there it's very fast here because you have great weather conditions. The bottom line is you still have to figure a way to get down the racetrack. We've always been able to do that in the past, and that's what we're going to have to do for tomorrow. We're going to have to figure how to get down it or we're going to get beat. We've just got to do our homework tonight and figure out just how we've done it in the past and see if we can get back there."

Warren Johnson in the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO also posted a career-best speed in qualifying right behind Anderson in the No. 5 position. Johnson had a qualifying elapsed time of 6.652 seconds at a career-best speed of 208.14 mph.

"The most important part about our qualifying effort is that we made decent runs every time we ran, and learned something every time," said Johnson. "We were a little too conservative in the last session, which might have cost us a couple hundredths, but the information gathered will certainly come in handy. It's supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow, so we will look at what we accomplished on our previous runs, make our adjustments and go from there."

Other Pontiac qualifiers include Greg Stanfield (7th), Mike Edwards (11th), Jim Yates (12th), and Tom Martino (13th).

Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt was the highest-qualified Chevy in the No. 7 spot, matching Stanfield's elapsed time of 6.658 seconds at a slightly slower speed of 207.75 mph. Johnson's qualifying time was the quickest in the fourth and final session, an impressive pass in conditions similar to tomorrow's eliminations.

"Anytime you can go from not in the field to 12th and then seventh on consecutive runs, including being the quickest car in the last session, you have to be pleased," said Johnson. "With qualifying behind us, our focus will now be on lighting the win light four times. After all, it doesn't matter how fast we run, just as long as that light keeps coming on in our lane. We've done it twice before here at Firebird, in 1999 and 2004, and we'd certainly like to add No. 3 tomorrow."

Other Chevy qualifiers include Kenny Koretsky (8th) and teammates Dave Connolly and Jeg Coughlin in 9th and 10th, respectively. Koretsky and his team owner Evan Knoll also showed the generous support that is prevalent throughout the NHRA community by delivering a check for $10,000 to Pontiac driver Mike Edwards in support of his primary sponsor, Young Life youth ministries, and its summer camp program.

In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon led the way in qualifying for Team Chevy in his Q Racing Chevy Monte Carlo, qualifying second with the third-quickest pass in NHRA Funny Car history, an elapsed time of 4.659 seconds at 324.44 mph. Unfortunately for Pedregon, Force Racing's Robert Hight made the quickest pass in the history of the class and claimed the top spot. Hight had an elapsed time of 4.636 seconds at 327.74 mph. Not to be out done, Tommy Johnson Jr. drove his new Skoal Racing Impala SS to an impressive track-record speed of 330.88 to claim top-speed honors, and his elapsed time of 4.733 seconds places him seventh on the grid. Other Chevy qualifiers include Tim Wilkerson (12th), Gary Densham (14th), and Jeff Arend (16th).

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Greg Anderson , Gary Densham , Greg Stanfield , Kenny Koretsky , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Jason Line , Jeff Arend , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.