Events / Motorsports

Line Begins Defense of Pro Stock Title with Win at NHRA Winternationals

(Photo by Will Lester/SCNG)

Team Summit Pro Stock driver Jason Line started his championship defense with a victory over teammate Greg Anderson at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona. Line ran a 6.568 at 211.10 miles-per-hour in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro for his 46th career victory and 14th consecutive season with at least one win. Anderson ran a 6.579 at 211.56 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro.

“It’s a good way to start the season,” Line said. “Anytime you come to Pomona and win it’s great. I’m very excited, very happy and a little bit relieved. Just a great day for KB Racing and the Summit cars. To be able to come here and qualify one and two and finish one and two and have three cars in the semis. That’s just a big deal.”

On his way to victory, Line, who has five victories at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, took out rookie Tanner Gray and KB Racing teammate Bo Butner while Anderson faced veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr. and two-time world champion Erica Enders.

Leah Pritchett earned her second career victory in Top Fuel. Pritchett, who was also the #1 qualifier of the event, piloted her Papa John’s Pizza dragster to a 3.711-second pass at 324.98 miles-per-hour to defeat Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools dragster’s 7.630 at 103.85 after smoking the tires at the start.

“This definitely is taking delivery from the momentum from last year,” Pritchett said. “What just happened is the best thing that has ever happened for me professionally in my career. In my opinion, right now, we have the perfect group of people, partners, sponsors, a car that is reacting. This thing is ‘A+’, Grade A, perfect kid in school type of situation and we’re taking advantage of it right now.”

Pritchett defeated Steve Torrence and eight-time champion Tony Schumacher en route to the finals. Kalitta, who was in his third consecutive final at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, bettered Terry McMillen and three-time and reigning world champion Antron Brown.

In Funny Car, Matt Hagan raced to victory with a 3.875-second pass at 330.07 miles-per-hour in his Dodge Charger R/T. He defeated Courtney Force who ran a 3.901 at 326.95 in the final for his second win at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals. He also won at Pomona in 2015.

“It’s a real special race for me, a lot of stuff happened over the off season, with losing my brother,” said Hagan, who came into eliminations as the #1 qualifier. “We came out motivated. My lights have been great, the car has been great and my team has been great. We just have got a real powerhouse team right now. We just have to keep some of this momentum going.”

On his way to the finals Hagan powered past teammates Jack Beckman and Ron Capps, the defending world champion. Force took out J.R. Todd, who was racing in his first event in a Funny Car, and team owner John Force.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues February 24-26 at the NHRA Arizona Nationals being held at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ.

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