Events / Motorsports

Jason Line Earns First Firebird Win in All-Summit Final at NHRA Arizona Nationals

Defending champion Jason Line and the Summit Racing team continued their strong start to the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season on Sunday, capturing the Pro Stock title at Sunday’s 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals in Chandler, AZ. Starting from the second position, Line defeated Jeg Coughlin Jr., Erica Enders and Greg Stanfield in the early rounds before squaring off against his teammate Greg Anderson in the final.

Historically, the all-Summit encounters have been very close races, and the championship round in Phoenix was no exception. The two drivers left the starting line within a thousandth of a second of each other and rocketed down the quarter-mile as if welded together, with Line’s 6.558-second, 211.69-mile-per-hour pass pulling out the narrow victory over Anderson’s 6.570-second, 211.06-mile-per-hour run. This marks the 28th win of his career (which ties Darrell Alderman for seventh on the all-time Pro Stock wins list), first of the 2012 season and first at Firebird Raceway.

“It feels good to get my first win here in Phoenix,” Line said. “We’ve had one of the best cars in the class for the first two races but weren’t able to close the deal in Pomona, so it’s great to get the job done today. 

“Of course, going into the final we knew a Summit car was going to win, which took some of the pressure off. Still, anytime you go up against Greg, you know you’re going up against one of the very best, so you have to be on your very best game if you hope to beat him. Fortunately, we were able to make a good run and get the win.”

Greg Anderson
Anderson and the Summit Racing team entered Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Arizona Nationals looking to find the right tune-up to maximize their race car’s performance on a tricky Firebird Raceway surface.  Any questions as to how well they fared were quickly answered in the opening stanza, when, facing veteran Kurt Johnson, the four-time champion clicked off a 6.555-second (second only to his teammate), 210.83-mile-per-hour lap to gain the round win.

After Vincent Nobile’s red-light start in the second round sent him to the semifinals, Anderson used another solid 6.590-second, 210.21-mile-per-hour pass to eliminate Rodger Brogdon and advance to the 105th final round of his stellar career, where he would meet teammate Jason Line.  Although he made his fourth strong run of the day at 6.570-seconds, 211.06 miles per hour, it was not enough, as Line pulled out the close win, crossing the finish line first in 6.558-seconds, with a top speed of 211.69 miles per hour.

Despite the disappointment at not gaining the victory, Anderson was pleased with his team’s performance, and leaves Arizona with a one-point lead over his KB Racing stable mate in the Full Throttle Championship points standings.

“I was actually happy going into the left lane for the final, because my car was happier on that side,” Anderson said. “But even though we made a pretty good run, it wasn’t enough to catch Jason and his rocket ship. Still, my Summit Racing Pontiac ran well all day, and I made it to the final against my teammate, which is our goal at every race, so I had a very good day.

NHRA Pro Stock Points Standings

  1. Greg Anderson       209
  2. Jason Line               208
  3. Mike Edwards           147
  4. Rodger Brogdon       125
  5. Jeg Coughlin Jr.        122

Funny Car
In Funny Car, Robert Hight powered past fellow John Force Racing teammate Mike Neff when he posted a 4.139 at 307.07 in the final round to win his first race at Firebird International Raceway and capture his 24th career win.

With the win, Hight moved to second in the point standings behind Neff. Force sits third in the point standings, four points behind Hight. Force was eliminated in the first round by daughter and fellow team driver Courtney Force, who went on to her first career semifinal appearance.

Top Fuel
Antron Brown held off fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final round, running a 3.793-second pass at 319.82 miles per hour to win his first race of the season in what was his second-consecutive final round appearance. It was his 32nd career win, with 16 wins in Top Fuel and 16 wins in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“It was an incredible day,” Brown said. “The competition in Top Fuel now, pound for pound, is like a 324-mile-per-hour Pro Stock class. Even though the odds were against us, we dug down deep and believed in our Matco Tools boys. We took it one round at a time and really had to battle with these guys. Making it to the final round for the second race in a row is a real huge statement. But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, especially when the countdown gets tight.”

The win moved Brown to the top spot in the Top Fuel standings, 32 points ahead of second-place Schumacher.

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