Phoenix: Jason Line preview

Jason Line's style suited for the "Countdown to the Championship" Chandler, Ariz. (February 22, 2005) -- Jason Line by self-admission says he is not a fast starter when a new season rolls around. But his semifinal appearance at the recently ...

Jason Line's style suited for the "Countdown to the Championship"

Chandler, Ariz. (February 22, 2005) -- Jason Line by self-admission says he is not a fast starter when a new season rolls around. But his semifinal appearance at the recently completed NHRA Winternationals may change his mind.

Line, driver of the KB Racing LLC, Summit Racing Equipment Pro Stock Pontiac GTO, will use the 23rd annual NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals this weekend at Firebird International Raceway to gauge whether his start at the CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals was fluke or a new trend for the reigning Pro Stock POWERade champion.

"Through my sportsman days in stock eliminator and on into the Pro Stock class, I've never felt like I was a strong starter," said Line, who now has a championship in stock eliminator and last year won in the Pro Stock category. "I never seemed to start fast but was always a good finisher."

In the first two events of 2006, Line was eliminated in the quarterfinals (2nd round) in each event, one of which occurred at Firebird. Last season, Line's first final round and win didn't come until Bristol, the sixth race of the season and the Minnesota native, who now lives in North Carolina, didn't take over the point lead until Denver, the 13th race, a position he held through season end.

Again using last season as an example, Line only had two final rounds and two wins in the first half of the season. From the halfway mark on he had seven final rounds, earning two more wins and capturing the Pro Stock championship in Las Vegas, one event from the season-final event in Pomona, Calif.

Line does feel that a strong finish has been helpful in the past and will be a benefit this year in NHRA's new format -- Countdown to the Championship.

In its simplest form, the Countdown breaks the $50 million, 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season up into three distinct sections: the 17-race Countdown to 8, the four-race Countdown to 4 and the two-race Countdown to 1.

After the 17 regular season races, only the top eight drivers advance into the first round of the four-race playoffs with the top driver being assigned 2,070 points and each of the remaining drivers 10 fewer points each (eighth-place is assigned 2,000 points).

The top four drivers after the four-race playoff will have their points reassigned again in 10-point increments with the first-place driver receiving 3,030 and the fourth-place driver 3,000.

The championship will then be determined over the final two races -- the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas and the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona -- with those final four drivers competing for the 2007 POWERade Series championships.

"The way the championship chase is formatted this year, it will be in any driver's favor to be a strong finisher," reflected Line. "I hope that no matter the start I have, the finish must be strong. It's our goal here at KB Racing that Greg (Anderson, teammate) and I put both Summit Pontiacs in the third part (Countdown to One) of the Countdown to the Championship, so that we have the opportunity for us (KB Racing) to win our fifth consecutive championship. It may sound like it's too early to talk about that now; it's not. If you don't think about it now, you may not be there at the end."

-credit: kb racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jason Line