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10 Questions with NHRA Pro Stock Champ Jason Line and Teammate Greg Anderson

NHRA Drag Racing

The 2016 season couldn’t have gone much better for the Summit Racing-sponsored KB Racing Pro Stock team of Jason Line and Greg Anderson.

Following an off-season of changes which included Pro Stock’s much-publicized switch from carburetion to EFI, the team grabbed early momentum and raced to the top of the point standings. The teammates would remain there for the entire season and battle for the championship — right to the very last race!

In the end, Jason Line earned his third career NHRA Pro Stock World Championship. Anderson, who has four Pro Stock world titles of his own, finished a close second. Both racers fielded questions about the historic season following season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals.

How huge is this particular championship?

Jason Line: I can’t put it into words. I’m a boring guy; I don’t like pressure. To have it come down to the end like this is hard on my heart. It was a great year and I want to thank all our competitors. They did a great job and made us work hard right to the end. And I want to thank all the Summit folks and (team owner) Ken Black. It’s been an incredible, dream season and I can’t believe I didn’t mess it up.

 

Based on the first half of the season, did you guys say there’s no way we can lose the championship?

Greg Anderson: Absolutely not. We said it every race; they are going to catch us. It’s probably going to happen next week. Everybody learns from everybody else. The racers look at the other racers and see how they do things. You know the technology is going to get around sooner or later, and we were shocked it took as long as it did. It finally did and we were scared when we started the Countdown. Now we’re on even ground with everybody going into the Countdown. We did a great job of racing, starting at Charlotte. Jason won and I was runner-up, and that gave us that confidence boost that we could still do it even without the performance advantage. We can outrace them. It went back and forth through the Countdown. It came down to the final race of the year and a dream scenario for us. Jason is the world champion and I won the race. What a dream.

NHRA Drag Racing

Pro Stock World Champion Jason Line and family.

At what point did you start thinking about the championship?

Line: You think about it, but you don’t want to overthink it. It’s not about thinking, it’s about letting your foot out and I struggle with that sometimes. After I won the Charlotte race, I thought that maybe we had a shot. We’ve had a great car all year. Greg (Anderson) and I probably have had the best cars. It’s been a fun year, and if it would have ended any other way I would have been disappointed.

 

Greg, you fell a little short on the championship. Is there any solace in getting the win to end the year?

Anderson: There is. To break Bob Glidden’s record is obviously fantastic. That‘s something I never considered, could think about or image, and now that it’s happened it’s just unreal. He is a hero of mine and I wouldn’t be here today without him. He helped create this class with guys like Bill Jenkins and Warren Johnson. They paved the way and we’re just trying to carry it on the best we can. Great day. I can’t cry. I did all I could do today. The only thing I could kick stones about is I didn’t do a great job in qualifying on Friday. I messed up in Q2 and I lost three points to Jason and those three points are a big three points. Bum deal but you do the best you can. Sometimes you make a mistake and I did on Friday and it cost me, and that’s what the decider was. It was a great fight all year. We had some great battles. The last half of the year the rest of the class got involved and we had some great battles with them, and for us to dig in and regroup when we entered the Countdown with a little advantage from a large advantage in the regular season was amazing to come back and do it again. Between the two of us (Jason Line), we won two-thirds of the races. If you would have told us that 12 months ago, I would have told you that you were crazy. We overachieved this year and we’re leaving here happy. We’re looking forward to 2017; it’s going to be tighter than ever. We’re going to have to find a way to race better yet and find more power.

NHRA Drag RacingAuto Club NHRA Finals winner Greg Anderson

What do you have to do in the off-season?

Anderson: That’s where the gains are made — in the off-season. When you race every weekend, or every other weekend, you don’t have that much time so you have to get it done during the wintertime. A year ago at this time we got our tails whipped by Erica (Enders-Stevens) and we finished second and we had this new rules change coming up that we weren’t looking forward to and we were dragging our lip and were complaining. We packed up here and went to Kuwait and saw soldier after soldier and what they do for us, and it completely changed our outlook. When we saw how they run into battle without a second thought, we left there with a whole new attitude and came home and said ‘this is not a problem.’ Changing to fuel injection is not a problem. That’s an opportunity for us that these soldiers have created for us to go out there and race, so we need to make the most of it and gain an advantage on somebody. We’re going to do the same a week from now; we’re going over there again and get that knock in the head. That’s what turned it around for us last year.

 

Jason, you guys disappeared last year at this time because you were working so hard. What’s it going to be like this year?

Line: Plus we were bitter. We didn’t exactly embrace the new rules; I didn’t anyway. Greg finally dragged me in. This year, we’ll try to stay focused and not mess it up. In order to win the race, you have to be mistake-free and it’s very easy to let your emotions or your adrenaline get the best of you. And it’s not about emotion, it’s about the process. I didn’t do a great job but it was good enough to win.

Are you going to do the same this off-season?

Line: We’re going to have to because nobody likes not winning and I promise you our competitors will be working as hard or harder so we have no choice. The gains are getting fewer and tougher to find so we’ll have to come up with some new stuff and make the process better.

 

So next year you don’t expect a head start?

Anderson: We already know that we’re not going to get out to that start. We’re going to do all that we can over the winter. We’ll put in another winter’s worth of work like we did last year, otherwise we’ll come out behind everybody. I can guarantee you that the other 13 drivers out here are not leaving happy and they are sick and tired of losing to us. They are going to work extra hard over the winter, and with the rules package the way it is there is not that much leeway for people to jump out. Now that we have a year into it, there’s not any low-hanging fruit left on the tree. I don’t see anybody jumping out to a big advantage next year, so that means Jason and I are going to have to find ways to do better jobs as drivers.

 

You guys had a huge lead, but everything was reset once you reached “the Countdown.” What did you think at that point?

Line: You know it’s coming, but it’s still painful when it happens. My thought was to try to get some back. I feel like you have to at least make the final at the first race, so when we won the Charlotte race I felt like I had a decent chance. For me, beating Greg (Anderson) in that final set the tone for the way the Countdown was going to go. It didn’t go like I thought it was going to, but in the end, it worked out.

 

Talk about the dynamic that you and Greg have. How unique is that?

Line: I haven’t seen it in any other form of motorsports. We’ve been able to stay together for 14 years and that’s like an eternity. Of all the things that we’ve accomplished in racing, I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of. We don’t mind fighting, but we’re not fighting to win, we’re fighting to go forward.

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