Summit Racing driver Jason Line is in the midst of another outstanding year. In the first 15 races of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season, the reigning Pro Stock champion has logged one win in four final round appearances, along with five #1-qualifying positions. In addition, he has earned valuable bonus qualifying points in all but one race, a showing that has allowed him to not only remain solidly in the top three positions in the championship standings, but also claim one of the coveted positions in the Countdown to the Championship playoff.
Lost in the midst of this solid performance is that after ten races Line parked the car which carried him to the championship one year ago in favor of his all-new Summit Racing Camaro, requiring that both he and the KB Racing crew adapt on the fly to their new mount’s tuning envelope. Rising to the challenge, they come into this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, WA with one final round appearance already under their belt, as well as five starts in the top five positions. However, as Line is quick to point out, the learning process has just begun.
“The good news is that we continue to make progress with our Summit Racing Camaro, making it better with every race,” Line said. “But even though we are headed in the right direction, we still have a long way to go before we get it to the level of consistent performance that we need to contend for wins on a weekly basis. Naturally, we would prefer to spend a little time testing, but that’s not an option during the Western Swing.
Ironically, Line has experienced his own learning curve at Pacific Raceways, site of this weekend’s event. After struggling to advance in his first four starts at the Kent quarter-mile, Line turned his fortunes completely around in his next four appearances, with two wins (including one year ago) in three final round appearances. As such, it is easy to see why he is looking forward to this year’s edition.
“I like racing in Seattle,” Line said. “It’s a great area, and we’re going to a high-horsepower track with a decent racing surface, which under the right conditions allows you to run really fast. We’ve had our share of success there in recent years, and we’d like to continue that trend this weekend. To do that, we’ll need to have our Summit Racing Camaro dialed in from the first qualifying pass and build on it from there.
Anderson Searching for the Sweet Spot in Seattle
The sweet spot. It is a phrase used by baseball players, golfers and racers to describe that area of the bat, club or tune-up which provides the maximum performance. As each will tell you, it can be an elusive target, the pursuit of which can be rather lengthy and, at times, somewhat frustrating. Such has been the experience of Greg Anderson and his Summit Racing team with their new Chevrolet Camaro.
In their first six races with the legendary muscle car they have certainly experienced their share of success, with one win in three final round appearances, a statistic made even more impressive by the fact that the KB Racing crew has yet to get fully acclimated to the needs of their still-new race car. Even so, as Anderson prepared for this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals, he admitted that both he and his team still had some work ahead of them.
“Ever since we started racing this Summit Racing Camaro, we’ve been working non-stop to find its sweet spot, getting the right balance of performance,” Anderson said. “Right now, it doesn’t want to run the first part of the track. Anything down track is more related to the aero or engine packages, and even though we still have some work to do in that area, our biggest issue remains in the first 330 feet.
“Until we get the performance back where we need it to be, we’re also probably going to have a little inconsistency, as we make wholesale changes trying to make them better. These Camaros are completely different cars than the ones we ran before, presenting us with a new challenge that we just haven’t conquered yet.
For the second consecutive week, the “factory hot rods” will enjoy conditions that are conducive to creating horsepower, with cooler temperatures and plenty of oxygen. Nestled among the trees in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Pacific Raceways will test the teams as they try to match their 1,400-horsepower hot rods to a racing surface that, as Anderson describes, has a personality all its own.
“The track at Pacific Raceways is pretty quirky, and it all comes down to the weather,” Anderson said. “For some reason, it does not seem to like sunshine at all. You have to know when you’re racing there that it can be a very, very good track if it doesn’t have direct sunlight on it. If it’s cloudy with cool temperatures it’s one of the best we race on and with the power we make you can run really fast.”