Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line will have the unique opportunity to race for two trophies this weekend at the most prestigious race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. In addition to pursuing his first Indy trophy, Line, of Mooresville, N.C., was a semifinalist at the rain-halted Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd two weeks ago and will complete the race during qualifying at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Line enters the U.S. Nationals as the track record holder with a 6.538-second elapsed time recorded in 2011, and the event three years ago marked the most success that Line has yet had at the esteemed facility. He was No. 1 qualifier that year and raced to the final round to record a runner-up finish to Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson. The fact that victory in Indianapolis has so far been elusive for the 34-time NHRA Pro Stock winner isn’t weighing heavily on Line’s mind; he arrives in possession of the points lead and with two consecutive wins on his scorecard, earned in Sonoma and Seattle.
“We’re just going to show up and start there,” said Line. “I don’t know if the KB Racing team will dominate this weekend, but we are certainly in a position where we have a chance to win the race. We have the Summit Racing Camaros running a lot better than they were three months ago, but it’s hard to say how it will turn out because you just don’t know what everyone else is doing. Anyone could have worked very hard and come up with some piece that they’ve been missing. I do know that we will be right in the hunt. The Summit Racing team will be competitive. Do we have a chance to qualify No. 1? You bet.”
In addition to Line’s low qualifier award in 2011, teammate Anderson has three No. 1s earned in Indy (2004-06) and has six times won the event.
While the team’s collective U.S. Nationals record is exemplary, they will have their hands full this weekend as they fight for the trophies up for grabs and work diligently to preserve Anderson’s position in the top 10. The weekend will signify the closing of the regular season, and it is the final chance for drivers to lock in their spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
“Indy is a place where Greg shines,” said Line. “He has a stranglehold on that race and loves going there. He thrives there, and I certainly wouldn’t want to race against him. He’s tough, and I know he’ll be fine. Our team tested a couple of days after Brainerd and we’ve been working on engines and getting ready for the Countdown, and we’ll be ready for this weekend.
“For me, personally, it’s going to be unusual because we’re finishing the Brainerd race. But I look at that as a positive thing. It gives me another chance to have a crack at raceday. Usually, if you don’t do well on raceday you have to wait another week or more, but in this case if things don’t go my way I’ll only have to wait another day. It’s another opportunity to be in race mode and see what we have as the Countdown gets closer, and I’m excited about it. We were pretty happy with our performance at Brainerd, so we’re confident that we can show up with what we have and be very competitive.”