Jason Line and the Summit Racing team faced a tall order entering Sunday’s final eliminations of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, MN. After all, starting ninth, they would have to relinquish lane choice to Ronnie Humphrey in the first round, who would be racing the Genuine Hotrod Hardware GXP that carried Line to the title in 2011. Fortunately, Line was able to use a two-hundredths of a second starting line advantage and a 6.592-second, 210.18 miles-per-hour pass to defeat Humphrey, who posted a 6.622-second elapsed time and 209.33 miles-per-hour top speed.
Line’s path to his first home state win did not get any easier in the second round, as he would face No. 1 qualifier Erica Enders—who continues to rewrite the NHRA record books with her third Pro Stock win of the season, and second in a row. Facing an apparent performance disadvantage and racing once again without lane choice, Line knew he would need every possible benefit in order to advance. Responding to the challenge, Line left the starting line with an almost-perfect .007 reaction time to gain a slight edge. However, his 6.595-second, 210.64 miles-per-hour run was not enough to hold off his opponent’s charge, who used a 6.545-second, 210.31 miles-per-hour pass to gain the win.
Line’s KB Racing and Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson was eliminated by Mark Martino in the first round.
Although naturally disappointed to have missed scoring a win in his home state, Line was rather philosophical after the run, viewing this current streak as nothing more than a temporary setback.
“This is just a bump a road that we’ll have to overcome, and we will,” Line said. “We just didn’t make what we would consider a good run this weekend, which is something you have to do to win in this class. For example in the second round, it never got the front end up. When it does that it waffles the tires because it doesn’t have enough bite which caused it to spin the tires extremely hard. It’s an easy thing to look at and spot but hard to fix.
“However, it could have been a lot worse. We did learn a few things about our Summit Racing Camaro today that we can hopefully apply moving forward. For example, on our two runs today, we finally started to show some speed, which is certainly a positive. You have to look at this as a big orchestra, with every piece having to work together, which is a challenge to do.
“These cars are very finicky and they’re hard to stay on top of, but what we’re going through right now is all part of the learning process. We need to go home and spend some significant time at a track testing these cars and seeing what they need. I promise we will turn this around. But for now, we’re going to take the rest of the day to enjoy some time here at the track with our family and friends.”
Pro Stock Championship point standings
1. Allen Johnson 1,432
2. Jason Line 1,298
3. Greg Anderson 1,270
4. Mike Edwards 1,090
5. Erica Enders 1,065
Summary of Final Round Eliminations
Top Fuel—Morgan Lucas, 3.818 seconds, 316.90 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.831 seconds, 313.80 mph.
Funny Car—Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.134, 304.05 def. John Force, Ford Mustang, 6.633, 116.35.
Pro Stock—Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.569, 210.05 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 14.495, 58.43.
Pro Stock Motorcycle—Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.896, 192.47 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, foul.
Top Alcohol Dragster—Jim Whiteley, 5.400, 266.37 def. Chase Copeland, 13.198, 58.95.
Top Alcohol Funny Car—Frank Manzo, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.528, 261.02 def. Annie Whiteley, Ford Mustang, 5.708, 257.24.
Competition Eliminator—Bruno Massel, Chevy Cobalt, 7.001, 179.49 def. David Rampy, Bantam Roadster, 7.278, 168.39.
Super Stock—Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 10.464, 117.68 def. Ron Roddel, Pontiac Grand Am, foul.