The battle for the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock championship is going right down to the final day of what has been a whirlwind of a season, and Summit Racing campaigner Jason Line is in the fight of his life for the third world title of his career at the 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. Line, of Mooresville, N.C., gathered bonus points en route to his third No. 1 qualifier award of the season and the 38th of his career, and the top spot came with enough qualifying marks to narrow the gap between himself and the biggest trophy of the year.
“Coming here, we know we had to minimize the gap,” said Line, who is now 19 points – less than a round – behind the points leader, Erica Enders-Stevens. “I wasn’t counting on being No. 1, but we were, and that has made this a really great day. It’s pretty exciting for all of us over here at KB Racing, and our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro made a really good run that was necessary for us to stay in the championship hunt. Qualifying was a lot of fun, we were going back and forth, and now the ladder for tomorrow could set up for a phenomenal day. If she and I race in the finals, the winner of the race wins the championship. To me, that’s about as cool as it gets.”
Line earned two bonus points in his first run down the racetrack at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona with a 6.532-second pass at 211.46 mph, and he ended the first day of qualifying in the No. 3 spot following a 6.537 at 211.33 that was good for one more bonus mark for the pile.
Saturday opened crisp and cool, but the sun moved in and out from behind the clouds and made it an interesting game as crew chiefs worked to put their finger on the right combination. KB Racing crew chief Rob Downing hit the nail on the head with a stout 6.517 at a big speed of 212.19 mph, and Line was piloting a rocket with his Summit Racing Camaro, reeling in three more bonus points and securing the No. 1 position. Although he had trouble and slowed in the final session, mustering 6.918 pass, Line held on to the low qualifier award. He will race part timer Jeff Isbell in the first round on Sunday.
“If you want to be the champion, you have to mow over everyone. It’s not an easy thing to do – there is nobody out here that’s easy to beat,” said Line. “But I’m excited about tomorrow and about the way the day turned out. It’s a heck of an opportunity for everyone that works on our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. This is a great thing. This is the way it’s supposed to be, but it very rarely comes down to this situation. She’s on the opposite side of the ladder, she’s less than one round ahead, and hopefully, the fight for the 2014 Pro Stock championship will be one for the ages. It’s going to be cool.”