After consistently qualifying in the top half of the field over the last handful of events on the 2011 NHRA tour, Jason Line grabbed the top Pro Stock position during the most recent NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, New Jersey and all the bonuses that go with it.
NHRA Pro Stock driver Jason Line
Jason Line with his Summit Racing Pontiac
For NHRA Pro Stock drivers, the sand is about to run out of the hourglass on the 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge qualifying, and thanks to his last three races, Jason Line has positioned himself with a very good chance to go into the shootout in the number one spot, which would be a first in his career.
Qualifying for the Englishtown event started off well for Line as he went right to the top of the heap when he posted a 6.533, just edging out Ron Krisher's 6.536.
"It was very fast there," Line pointed out. "The correction there was like two percent [HP Correction] or one-hundred and two percent. It was really nice weather and probably about as nice of racing weather as you are going to have."
While Line improved during the second qualifying session on Friday, running 6.517, so did everyone else and for a short time the number one spot belonged to Shane Gray and his 6.510 pass, which was also a track record Pro Stock ET. After the second session, there was just a mere seven thousandths of a second separating the top six in the field.
As the numbers clearly show, NHRA Pro Stock is so very competitive and Line explains just how important it is to do everything just right as a driver, whether it's race day or qualifying. "Staging is extremely important. My goal is to have the bottom bulb blinking and to be as shallow [staged] as possible because you need every single thousandths of a second that you can get. You have to stage perfect, shift perfect and try to make the perfect run every time. Although none of us have probably ever felt that we have made a perfect run, for example the difference between getting the K&N check and not at this event was only two-thousandths of a second."
Line and his Summit Racing Pontiac weren't out of the top spot for long. During the first session on Saturday, Line edged out Gray by two-thousands of a second with his 6.508 and right back to the top where he never looked back. With the run, Line grabbed his second pole of the 2011 NHRA season, the max points in the K&N Horsepower Challenge plus the cool $3,000 bonus provided to number one Pro Stock Qualifiers from K&N Engineering.
Seemingly on top of the world in Pro Stock, Line is not only currently number one in the NHRA points chase, but a full sixty points ahead of number two, Allen Johnson, in the K&N Horsepower Challenge going into the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee and final event to acquire qualifying points.
"I think I have to at least qualify number nine or better [at Bristol] and I can hold onto number one going into the Horsepower Challenge shootout in Norwalk," smiled Line. "I feel like we have a pretty good shot a clinching it for sure. I've been number two a couple of times and as time is drawing near, I'm pretty excited about being number one. It was definitely one of my goals this year."
"I really want to win that thing," he continued about the shootout itself. "I want that trophy, that's a really cool thing. And Allen Johnson running around showing off his ring every week, you know I want one of my own. [chuckles] You know, it really is a cool thing and something to be very proud of and I want to do whatever it takes to get one of my own."
Line points out that he likes the way the Challenge is run, starting points for each year mid-season. "It's really nice to have something as big as this is, in the middle of the season," he says of the shootout. "We are very lucky in Pro Stock to have this type of opportunity for a huge $50,000 payday thanks to K&N. No other class in NHRA has anything like it with such an incentive to win. It's a really nice opportunity to not only showcase our class but K&N products as well. Plus it's way cool that K&N gets the fans involved the way they do. I would love to not only win it for our team, but help whatever fan I get paired up with win big, too."
Once the teams roll into Summit Racing Motorsports Park, just outside of Norwalk, Ohio, June 23-26 for the NHRA National Event and the running of the 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge, Line is very excited for both events to be held so close to his sponsor, Summit Racing Equipment. "It's a little added pressure for our team being there, and we really want to do well not only in the race, but to get that K&N championship money. But it is a great facility, we always look forward to going to Norwalk and who can beat the dollar per pound ice cream?" he added.
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