With already five number one qualifiers under his belt for the 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge, Pro Stock standout Jason Line made his early season statement by grabbing his sixth pole for the current Challenge, and the maximum points available, during the 52nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California.
Jason Line's Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP
Jason Line's 6.534 pass was the quickest Pro Stock pass of the entire event.
K&N's Mike Edwards picked up where he left off at the end of 2011 and led the Pro Stock field after the first session on Thursday by posting a 6.545. A comfortable seventy-eight degrees and low humidity for the teams during session number one, the event started off with a near-perfect weather forecast that over the course of the event, quickly changed directions and made each qualifying session more important than the last.
Just one session planned for the professional teams during Friday's activities and like the day before, the weather was conducive to some great on-track action. Edwards made another good run [6.571], but this time around there were numerous teams all within just a few thousandths of a second of his proverbial pole position. Both Ronnie Humphrey and Allen Johnson laid down 6.548 runs and Jason Line a tick behind with his much improved 6.550.
When teams came back on Saturday, the weather situation had started to play not so nice. While there were two more attempts scheduled for the day, only one would be made thanks to an early in the day rain delay and when the teams did get on the track, they were greeted with much different conditions than the two days prior, including a track temp that was nearly thirty degrees cooler. Many teams struggled to just to match their numbers from earlier sessions, but Jason Line managed to blister his previous efforts in what would not only catapult him to number one, but his 6.534 would also remain the quickest Pro Stock pass of the entire event.
"The right lane at Pomona is normally a little trickier to navigate," Line pointed out. "When we were running that particular session, I really didn't feel like we would be able to go to the number one spot, but we did. We were able to make a great run and it was actually kind of a nice surprise. That's why at times, lane choice ends up being a really big deal at certain places and I feel like Pomona is one of them.
"We kind of started off a little slow and struggled some making nice runs all weekend," explained Line. "The track was a little tricky but it was really a great way to start the year, that's for sure. It's a really big deal anytime you can qualify number one. When you do so right out of the gate, you set the tone for the season and you will actually change the way people race you. Having a performance advantage is a big-big deal and it won't help you every time, but there are certainly times when it does."
With the latest number one qualifier, Line now moves to a full one hundred-five points ahead of Mike Edwards who sits at number two in the 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge point standings with 2,170 points and just a mere five points behind at number three, is Line's teammate and former 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge Champion, Greg Anderson.
"I said I was going to win the Challenge last year and unfortunately it didn't work out for me," Line said of the biggest single payday event in all of NHRA Pro Stock and its $50,000 check to the winner. "I'm hoping that this will be my time to win it and believe me, I am putting as much effort as possible to put that to bed and win it. Winning the K&N Horsepower Challenge is bigger than any other race we have a shot at winning and I hope that everyone at K&N knows just how much all of us in Pro Stock appreciate the opportunity to have such an elite race for our class."
"I've actually started a wall at my house in the garage where I have all of my K&N number one qualifier plaques," he added with a smile. "I've got a pretty big wall, so I'm trying to fill it up."
With no chance to rest, many of the pro teams left Pomona to spend a few days at "The Strip" at LVMS testing before heading to race two on the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle tour at Firebird International Raceway, just outside Phoenix, Arizona and the NHRA Arizona Nationals, February 17-19.
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