In the first NHRA Mellow Yello Drag Racing Series event since February, Pro Stock driver Jason Line secured the 51st win of his career in what he says is his final professional season behind the wheel of a Pro Stock race car.
Line defeated Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round with a cool .017-second reaction time and a 6.647-second pass at 207.21 miles per hour to his opponent’s .022 and 6.658, 206.76 at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Sunday.
Billy Torrence in Top Fuel, Matt Hagan in Funny Car, and Ryan Oehler in Pro Stock Motorcycle were also winners in their respective categories.
Line has had a tremendous career, one that has included a plethora of accolades that include three world championships in what is arguably the most competitive category in drag racing, but his heart is in the engine room and running the dyno at KB Racing.
Line’s road to the finals included victories against Alan Prusiensky, Alex Laughlin and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson.
“This one is special,” said Line, who extend his ownership of the longest career season win streak of any other active driver in the series to 17 seasons. “Every one of these wins means a lot, but this being my last year, and I really wanted to keep the streak going. My dad [Lawrence Line] is big on stats. He’s been keeping track and reminds me about it every time he can – I’ve won one every year since I started racing full time in 2004. Now, no matter what happens the rest of this year, we’ve done that. I’m pretty happy.”
B. Torrence Wins Top Fuel
Facing off with points leader Doug Kalitta in the final round, Torrence went 3.802-seconds at 322.34 mph in his 11,000-horsepower dragster to beat Kalitta’s 3.852 at 307.86 in a thrilling side-by-side race. It gave Torrence his first win in 2020 and sixth in his career. Torrence reached the final round by knocking off Terry Totten, T.J. Zizzo, and his son, Steve, the defending and back-to-back Top Fuel world champ.
“To come out here and be able to compete at this level, it’s always gratifying,” Torrence said. “These boys worked so hard to give me a competitive car. If you can’t have fun doing this, you can’t have fun doing anything. For the people that come out here to put these events on and for all the people trying to keep all of us safe and all, just thank you. We (also) need to thank the good Lord for us being out here as a family and being able to enjoy the freedoms to come out here and drag race.”
Kalitta picked up round wins against Lex Joon, Leah Pruett, and Antron Brown to advance to his 94th final round, also earning his 700th career round win. Kalitta has now advanced to the final round at every race in 2020.
Funny Car’s Hagan drove to his first win of the 2020 season in his 11,000-horsepower Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, beating Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round with a 4.328 at 215.00. It gave the two-time world champ his 34th career win, and he advanced to his 61st final round thanks to victories against both Daniel and Tim Wilkerson, as well as DSR teammate and points leader Jack Beckman.
“We’re so glad to be doing this here with NHRA and fans in the stands,” Hagan said. “I can’t just say enough about NHRA and this team. These guys are my family and what an amazing job by my crew chief Dickie Venables. He’s dangerous when you give him a couple laps.”
Johnson, the No. 1 qualifier at the event, reached his 54th final round by knocking off teammate Ron Capps, Blake Alexander and J.R. Todd.
Oehler Wins Pro Stock Motorcycle
It was the perfect start to the Pro Stock Motorcycle season for Oehler, who won his first career NHRA race in his first final round, going 6.974 at 194.16 on his Flyin’ Ryan Racing/B&K Cylinder Heads EBR to defeat Matt Smith. After qualifying fifth, Oehler knocked off Marc Ingwersen, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr. to advance to the championship round for the first time in his career. He posted a remarkable .010 reaction time and never trailed en route to the biggest moment of his PSM career.
“We’ve been hunting for this for a long time,” Oehler said. “This has been my dad’s dream and we just keep working every day. When we pulled up to the line, I knew it was going to try to pull me through the beams. I waited to go on the two-step until that very last second and when it dropped, I knew we had a good light. Just to have it all come together for my dad, my mom, my wife, my team, I love it all.”
Smith, who qualified second, beat Chris Bostick, Angelle Sampey and defending world champ Andrew Hines to reach the final round for the 55th time. His 6.855 in the first round was the best for the weekend in the class.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues next weekend with the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Kelly Wade, the NHRA, and Drag Race Central contributed to this report.