For the seventh time during the 2012 season, Jason Line drove his Summit Racing Equipment Pro Stock ride to the top of the qualifying field, by adding his most recent pole during the 28th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals. The feat made it back-to-back number one qualifiers for Line and his still relatively new 2012 Chevy Camaro chassis and he did so with grand style, saving a spectacular run for the fourth and final session at Maple Grove Raceway, just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Jason Line currently drives a relitively new 2012 Camaro in the NHRA Prostock Class
During the opening session of Pro Stock qualifying Friday afternoon, humidity ran a little on the high side, although temperatures were comfortable in the mid-seventies and the adjusted altitude was hanging below 2300'. Current K&N Horsepower Challenge point leader, Allen Johnson managed to tune the best of the entire class, for the track and air conditions, and lay down the quickest lap of the session. Johnson's 6.545 easily edged out Line, who came up with the second quickest of the session and a 6.553.
By the time the team's rolled into the staging lanes for their second shot, track temps had cooled from 100 to 92 and the humidity had dropped a full ten percent, but one wouldn't notice much of a change in the performance of the top two. Allen Johnson ran just one thousandth off his previous run and posted a 6.546, while Line fell off five to a 6.558. But even before they had their shot, V. Gaines had trumped them all to shoot up to the proverbial top spot. Gaines laid down a 6.544, and going into the end of the first day of on-track activity, he was looking at the chance of grabbing his career first number one qualifier.
"Short times were really, really good. I shut it off at 6.40 [seconds] into the run. So I guess we're lucky it went as fast as it did," said the 65-year-old racer following session two. "Shutting it off early will hurt the mile an hour more than it will the E.T. But it certainly had a little more left in it."
"We've been improving steadily, since about Atlanta, and we just keep getting better and better every week," Gaines continued. "Obviously making mistakes, but certainly forward progress and having a lot of fun."
"We're in charge of our own destiny, and nothing's more rewarding than to have a run like this after the guys in the engine shop that madcap there. They're working day and night and day and night -- and I got to tell you, we've got a lot of things coming. So I'm really excited about what the future holds for us."
With not-so-nice weather forecasted for the remainder of the event, Gaines joked that the only way he felt he may be able to hang on to the top spot would be, "A rainstorm".
"Obviously, we've got a good combination," he added. "We all read the weather forecast, and it's hard to say what it's going to do. If the weather conditions change, it throws a whole new opportunity out there. So we'll go out there and see what we can do."
Jason Line sits 3rd in the 2013 K&N Horse Power Challenge points race
When Saturday rolled around, the racers were greeted with cloudy skies and a track temp of only 76 degrees. This session didn't seem to bode well in the improvement department for most and even though Gaines was able to hold on to his top spot as the competitors made their way down the eastern PA track, he fell way off his pass from the day before, this time only coming up with a 6.589. Line, however, was starting to show some teeth as he laid down an identical 6.558. Even though the effort would not improve his qualifying position, he was quickest of the session.
It would be the final attempt for the Pro Stock category that would make things real interesting. Now with the best air conditions of the meet thus far, drivers from all over the sheet started shaking things up. First it would be 2012 U.S. Nationals winner Dave Connolly, who would start the swapping for the top spot, as he pushed Gaines from his perch with a 6.539. Not to be outdone by her teammate and crew chief, next Erica Enders would take her turn on the pole with a 6.538.
But it was far from over. Jason Line, who had now been bumped from third coming into the final session all the way down to seventh, had quite a number up his sleeve. Line blazed past the field to grab the number one spot for his first time of event during the very last pair in Pro Stock qualifying. Line's 6.515 at 212.36 was an amazing more than two-hundredths of a second quicker than the closest to him at number two.
Line grabbed up the maximum points  for the 2013 K&N Horsepower Challenge, as well as his second K&N Low Qualifier $3,000 bonus check in a row. Line has now placed himself on the pole for race day a total of thirty-one times over his Pro Stock career and seven of those coming so far in 2012.
What made it even more interesting, is what we will never know. Given the fact that it was pointed out that Line's teammate, multi-time K&N Horsepower Challenge champ Greg Anderson, lifted during his final run down the track, it very well could have been Line sitting at number two. Anderson was trying to pick his spot on the ladder and in doing so, try to insure a potential matchup for race day with Allen Johnson.
"It was entertaining to watch Greg try to pick his spot. He lifted. He was trying to pick his spot on the ladder. He was trying to race A.J. early and knock him out. That didn't work out too well," Line said shortly following qualifying on Saturday, chuckling as he spoke. "If he had just kept it to the floor, he would have been on the pole. He was faster than I was at 1,000 feet."
"There are too many variables," he continued on Anderson's attempt. "You've got to count on everybody else to do the right thing. We don't even know what we're going to do, let alone what anybody else is going to do," he said. "I just try to be No. 1. That's my goal always."
Competitors had hoped for the same type of conditions they were afforded during the same event the previous year, but things just didn't quite add up for record setting performances, such as Line experienced when he set the E.T. record of 6.477, that still holds today. "We should've been faster than we were," he admitted of the run. "I don't know why we weren't. Certainly these cars are capable of going .44 or .45 very easily, maybe even faster. It takes the perfect conditions and the perfect racetrack. To have all those things line up is difficult."
With just two events remaining during the 2012 NHRA season, Allen Johnson still holds down the top spot in the 2013 K&N HPC standings. Erica Enders is 105 points behind at number two and with Line's two latest number one efforts, he is sitting nicely in the number three spot.
"It always feels good to get the K&N bonus and more points for the Challenge," Line admitted. "It's a program that is very important to not only our team but to everyone who competes in Pro Stock."
The teams head to "The Strip" at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and then wrap up the 2012 season in November during the NHRA World Finals in Pomona, California.
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.