Rolling through the type of season that dreams are made of, current 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge point leader, Jason Line took advantage of the cool fall air in his Summit Pontiac to sail to the number one Pro Stock qualifying spot during the 27th annual Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania. With the accomplishment, it would make an outstanding fifth consecutive pole sitting race day start for Line, who also sits number one in the NHRA Pro Stock Full Throttle standings.
K&N Horsepower Challenge point leader Jason Line
Jason Line's Summit Pontiac GXP
With a weather forecast that called for cooling temperatures and a good chance of rain throughout the course of the event, Friday's weather, with temps in the low seventy's, was quite comfortable for spectators, but proved to be a little heavy in the humidity department for the naturally aspirated Pro Stock power plants.
Out of the box for the first qualifying session on Friday, it would be K&N's Mike Edwards catapulting his way to the top by laying down a 6.541 at 211.66. Just when you think the performance can't get any tighter in Pro Stock, Jason Line and teammate, Greg Anderson answered Edwards E.T., by also both posting 6.541 runs. After the chips fell, Edwards would hold on to the provisional number one spot based on his faster MPH. Anderson would fall in at number two based on his 211.43 MPH and Line wrapping up the top three with his 211.06 pass.
When the teams came back for second qualifying round action, Mother Nature still had not provided the tuners and crew chiefs with quite the record setting conditions most were looking forward to during this event. Edwards managed to make the quickest run of the session and was the only car to dip into the 6.54 range. Line, this time was second quickest, followed by Anderson and the top three would remain unchanged going into much different conditions the following day.
"It wasn't a great day, but it certainly wasn't a bad day," said Line, shortly following Friday's on track festivities. "We made a decent run with our Summit Racing Pontiac, matching Greg and Mike on E.T., but giving up a little on top speed, putting us third, which is a good starting spot, although we'd be on the same side of the ladder."
Saturday weather was a whole lot different and had every one of the Pro Stock teams looking to make some fantastic runs. With 62 degrees and an adjusted altitude of under sixteen hundred feet, the only thing that may hold the tuners from their wishes would be the still rather high humidity, which was sitting over sixty percent.
As the pairs went down the track, it started to become obvious that the 6.541 time was not going to hold at number one. Line and Anderson teammate, Ronnie Humphrey was the first to drop the number with his 6.525 and it wouldn't be long before Line answered that with a track record setting 6.513, to take the top position for the first time of the weekend.
The air conditions remained much the same for the fourth and final session on Saturday, which professional teams were able to complete just a short while before rain halted the day's schedule of events. Although not improving on his earlier round effort, Line still managed to run a 6.517, which nearly matched his prior run. The pass was also quite notable since it was a full three-hundredths of a second quicker than Edwards, who made the second quickest lap of the session. And in NHRA Pro Stock racing terms, three-hundredths of a second might as well be miles.
With his Maple Grove Raceway track setting E.T. of 6.513, Line secured his fifth consecutive number one qualifier, making it a total of seven during the 2011 season and the twenty-fourth of his career.
"It's pretty exciting for this Summit Racing team to qualify No. 1 five races in a row, and when you include Greg's No. 1 in Seattle, it's actually six," Line admitted Saturday after the final session. "I've never done that before, and am very proud of what everyone on this crew has done. Looking at the time sheets from the last few races you would think we have this car completed sorted out, and we do. It's just a great hot rod, and I'm lucky to be driving it."
"However, you might not think that if you listened to us analyzing the runs afterwards, because we're always picking it apart trying to make it better," he continued. "That's what makes this team so good, we approach things like we're the underdog, always looking to improve because we know that's the only way to stay ahead."
Remaining steady at the top, Line continues to widen the spread in the K&N Horsepower Challenge standings, where he now holds a fifty point lead over Greg Anderson at two, and a one-hundred thirty-five point lead over Mike Edwards. Allen Johnson and Erica Enders wrap up the top five.
After a rain-delayed event that would be finished on Monday, it should also be noted that not only did Jason Line go on to win his second consecutive event, sixth of the season, but just as he noted the week before, set the new NHRA Pro Stock National E.T. Record that he was hoping he could do. In round two, Line laid down a screaming 6.477 that completely smashed the 6.495 that Rodger Brogdon had set earlier this March during the GatorNationals in Florida.
The teams now head out west for the final three events of the 2011 season, starting in Phoenix, then on Las Vegas before heading to the World Finals in Pomona, California next month.
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