Jason Line started his Full Throttle championship defense in impressive fashion, capturing the Pro Stock title at Sunday’s NHRA Nationals in Concord, NC, the start of which were delayed by over five hours due to morning rain. Starting from the second position, Line defeated Frank Gugliotta, Larry Morgan and Warren Johnson in the early rounds before squaring off against current points leader Allen Johnson in the final.
Although Line was able to gain the upper hand at the start with a strong .013 reaction time, both drivers soon found themselves fighting to maintain control on the very tricky surface. Fortunately, Line was able to regain traction first, crossing the finish line in 7.518 seconds with a top speed of 200.20 miles-per-hour to outdistance Johnson’s 11.800-second, 78.71-mile-per-hour pass. It was Line’s second win of the season, 29th of his career, first in his new Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro and first at zMAX Dragway.
“This was a big win for the Summit Racing team, and we couldn’t have started the Countdown in better fashion,” Line said. “We haven’t had one for a while, so it feels pretty good. It’s tough when you get conditions like this and although the track had been pretty good for most of the day, you had to make sure to stay in the groove or else you could be in trouble. However, it was a completely different story in the final.
“We ran out of sequence because of the weather and ended up following the fuel cars, which can be a tough situation and you have to deal with it the best you can. Obviously it’s easy for me to say since things worked out well for us, but we made the best of a not-so-great situation.
It should have come as no surprise that Line was one of dominant cars on race day, as he had been equally strong during qualifying, posting the quickest time in two of the four sessions on Friday and Saturday in securing the second starting position. He continued that trend on Sunday, posting the quickest elapsed time in every round, starting with a 6.576-second pass in his opening round victory over a red-lighting Frank Gugliotta. After defeating Larry Morgan in the second round, Line squared off against all-time Pro Stock wins leader Warren Johnson in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to the money round.
Once again, it was a wire-to-wire victory for Line, who gained the advantage at the start and never looked back, posting the quickest elapsed time of the day at 6.554-seconds with a top speed of 211.39 miles-per-hour to advance to the 62nd final round of his career, sixth of the season, and second at zMAX Dragway.
Anderson Fights Off Mechanical Gremlins
Greg Anderson, meanwhile, continued to struggle with unusual mechanical gremlins in his Summit Racing Camaro. Although he had made several solid runs in qualifying, including a strong 6.560-second, 211.66-mile-per-hour pass to earn the third starting position, he had also suffered a major mechanical malfunction on his final qualifying attempt which had left some unanswered questions for race day.
With a fresh bullet between his frame rails, Anderson rolled to the line for his first-round encounter with Shane Gray. Anderson showed his was ready, using a quick .029-second reaction time to gain the edge. However, shortly after launching, he was once again forced to push in the clutch as what he described as a freak mechanical failure threatened to destroy his motor, allowing his opponent to drive around him for the round win.
Naturally disappointed, Anderson looked forward to getting back to form and back in the championship hunt at next weekend’s race in Dallas, TX.
“We had a freak mechanical failure, which actually occurred during the burnout, although I did not know it until I left the starting line,” Anderson said. “It was lazy in low gear, and even though it shook in second gear, I did not see him ahead of me, so I stayed in it. As soon as he got around me, I lifted and unless he aborted his run, I was done. Just some bad luck that we need to shake off.
“Fortunately, it is repairable, although it will take a full day at the shop to get it fixed. It’s not the way I wanted to start the Countdown, but it could be worse. I need to string together some wins, and the good news is that it looks like it’s a possibility, because we are obviously gaining on the performance of these Summit Racing Camaros. Jason had the fastest car all day long, so all we need to do in my case is race error free. I have a chance, but I certainly have to make something happen next week in Dallas.”
NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock Championship Points Standings
(After 18 of 23 races)
1. Allen Johnson 2,209*
2. Jason Line 2,206*
3. Vincent Nobile 2,138*
4. Greg Anderson 2,107*
5. Mike Edwards 2,094*
*Scores reflect readjustment for Countdown to One Championship Playoff
Team Summit Driver Results
• Greg Anderson qualified 3rd (6.560/211.66) lost to Shane Gray in the first round. He is now 4th in points.
• Jason Line qualified 2nd (6.554/211.13) beat Frank Gugliotta, Larry Morgan and Warren Johnson before beating Allen Johnson in the final. He is now 2nd in points.
• Ronnie Humphrey qualified 12th (6.606/210.24) lost to Mike Edwards in the first round. He is now 12th in the points standings.
• Larry Morgan qualified 10th (6.595/209.46) beat Ron Krisher in the first round, but lost to Jason Line in the second round. He is now 8th in points.
• Warren Johnson qualified 11th (6.598/209.82) beat Erica Enders in the first round and Shane Gray in the second round, but lost to Jason Line in the semis. He is now 15th in points.
• Kurt Johnson did not qualify (8.002/136.39). Kurt is 14th in points.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS: Jason Line defeated Allen Johnson, 7.518/200.20 to 11.800/78.71.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS: Shawn Langdon defeated Tony Schumacher, 3.785/326.71 to 3.808/322.27.
Tim Wilkerson – qualified first (4.048/309.70) beat Todd Lesenko in the first round, but lost to Matt Hagan in the second round. Tim is now 10th in the points standings.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS: Ron Capps defeated Mike Neff, 4.067/315.49 to 10.406/79.25.
Kenny Lang – did not qualify (6.776/215.13)
FINAL ROUND RESULTS: Leah Pruett defeated Mike Knowles (5.936/246.44 to 9.088/102.78).