Now considered his home track, zMax Dragway, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been very good to NHRA Pro Stock Driver Jason Line over the last three national events held there. Line was number one qualifier one year ago, again earlier this season and pounded his way to the top again during the latest event held at the pristine facility for the Fourth Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.
NHRA Pro Stock Driver Jason Line
Jason Line at the Fourth Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.
With the feat, Line has now moved ten points ahead of teammate, Greg Anderson in the 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge. He now narrowly holds down the number one spot for the prestigious annual shootout in which the top seven qualified drivers, along with a fan voted eighth, vie for the biggest single payday in all of NHRA Pro Stock and the $50,000 championship check.
During the first session for Pro Stock late Friday afternoon, Allen Johnson and K&N's Mike Edwards both laid down good 6.54 passes, only within a thousandth of a second a part, but it would be the final pair, with Line and Anderson, which would not only set the bar but set it real high for the field. Line posted a 6.510 and Anderson slid in right behind him for the early number two spot, only five thousandths behind him. Line's ET was not only a zMax track record, but the first part of what could turn out to be a new NHRA Pro Stock National Record, if he could make it into the 6.40's.
When the professional fields rolled to the lanes for the second session of qualifying mid-Friday evening, the air was even cooler, just 64 degrees an adjusted altitude of 1,223 feet and a track temperature of only 74 degrees. Some Pro stock teams missed the set-up entirely, while others managed to maintain elapsed times close to those of their efforts earlier in the day. During the final pair of the session, Line once again commanded the quickest run of the pack with his 6.520, although unable to improve or grab the National Record.
"We were going for it," Line confessed of the record just after Friday's second session. "We thought we were but we were both way soft. You never know what tomorrow will bring. We still have a lot left."
Closely watching the weather predictions for the following day, Line felt Saturday's final qualifying would bring even better opportunities for lightening quick runs. "If we get dry and cool, with this racing surface, you could see the record fall."
After a rain delay that changed up Saturday's on-track schedule, Pro Stock teams would have all the 'good' air they could handle for session number three. With almost a crisp 62 degrees, an awesome adjusted altitude of just over one-thousand feet and a track temp hovering just over seventy degrees, records could very well fall. If only teams could get rid of the now high water grains.
Line and teammate Anderson did manage to make the two quickest runs of session three, with Anderson improving just two-thousandths on his best pass and line about where he was the evening before with his 6.518. Neither would change positions, remaining one and two, and it would be down to the final session to see if Line could grab the record for himself, and the bonus points that go with it.
The final session gave the teams a little more track temp to work with than they had in the two prior sessions and thus, hopefully a little more bite where they needed it down track. Only Greg Anderson would make a run consistent to his previous passes, Line missed the mark and while it was his slowest run of the event thus far [6.558], he safely held on to the pole for race day.
For the third consecutive race in a row, Jason Line claimed the number one qualifier in NHRA Pro Stock along with the $3,000 Low Qualifier bonus from K&N Engineering and the max points available per event for the K&N Horsepower Challenge.
Just about everything a Pro Stock driver could want during qualifying, except to be so close to a new ET record only for the opportunity to pass them by.
"We took a little more of a conservative approach in trying to see if we could do it," Line admitted following the end of qualifying. "We just didn't make all that good of a call and if you look at it, nobody else did either. We were just a little more off on our tune-up. I'm not sure whether we underestimated or overestimated the conditions. We went for it a lot more on that last run. We ended up shaking the tires. It just wasn't there this weekend."
"We thought we were aggressive but really we weren't it," Line confessed. "Today we got after it. We ended up slowing both cars down. We learned something today, so maybe that will help us."
Next for the NHRA professional teams is a stop at Texas Motorplex for the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, in Ennis, Texas just outside of Dallas.
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