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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

Jason

Another 20-point bonus and a Wally
 
by John Grones  |  October 31, 2006
 

It is hard to imagine that last week’s race in Dinwiddie, Virginia could have played out any better for Wright’s very own professional drag racer Jason Line. Not only did he put a strangle hold on the POWERade points race, but he bettered his national record while defeating Erica Enders, Dave Connolly, Greg Anderson and Tom Martino in the process.

Better yet, he took home his fourth Wally of the season.

Jason had a career day and rode a string of 6.5-second passes, including his record setting 6.558 elapsed time at 209.75 mph in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations. “I should do this more often. This is awesome,” said Jason. “It was a huge weekend — the ultimate time to get it done.”

Jason is now 119 points ahead of his partner and boss, Greg Anderson.

In addition to having the fastest car in the field, Jason also was excellent off the starting line. His .036 reaction time versus Erica Enders gave him plenty of room to spare, but then he nailed an .004 light versus Connolly. Connolly played a little staging game by double-bulbing but it didn’t deter Jason from blowing by his nemesis for the second week in a row.

“Greg and I always play it straight,” Jason said referring to the common courtesy racers normally maintain by staging one light at a time. “Once Connolly did that, the timer disregards the required seven seconds and I didn’t have to panic.”

The Connolly race was big, but Jason would have yet another championship-determining race to go. Round three featured a race against Jason’s friend, partner, teammate and the only guy left that can  challenge for the top spot in the points race – Greg Anderson. Jason was again solid off the starting line. He had another .035 light and won with a comfortable margin.

 According to Jason, it was tough to race Greg in the semifinals because of what was on the line, “but we just raced like we have all year: straight up,” Jason said. “This whole team is special, from the guys at the track to the guys at the shop. It’s good that no matter what, the championship is staying with us.”

In an interview with ESPN2, Greg admitted that the points race definitely favors Jason at this point. “”I’m very proud of him,” said Greg. “He means so much to our team. I’m not giving up yet, but he sure looks tough to beat at this point.”

In the final, Jason gave Tom Martino a head start, but his Pontiac GTO easily tracked down the veteran and passed him with a winning elapsed time of 6.597 seconds, and a speed of 208.42 m.p.h. to Martinos’ 6.645, 207.78.

Looking back, this will be yet another weekend to remember for Jason. “It’s unbelievable to me to set a national record at back-to-back races,” added Jason, “so many things have to line up to have that happen at two races in a row. I’m not sure it’s even been done before. I’m so worn out right now I almost can’t even bring myself to be happy.”

Looking ahead

Next up for Jason, will be the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 26-29. The situation for Jason is this — win two rounds and the championship is basically locked up.

There is the variable of receiving points for a National Record that could change the points chase, but they are highly unlikely. According to Jason, the altitude in Las Vegas does not favor any more records.

All-in-all, things have really gone well for the Summitt Racing team and Jason doesn’t expect anything to change. “Our goal is to go to Vegas and win the race.”

This article first appeared in the October 24 issue of the Voyageur Press.

Jason Line calls it “bittersweet”

BY JOHN GRONES

Sports Editor

It wasn’t a matter of if Jason Line would win the championship, but when. That when came during a semifinal race between Jason and three-time defending series champ Greg Anderson in the semifinal round of Sunday’s sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. Jason edged Greg on the start and ran faster down the track to clinch the 2006 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion.

Jason’s weekend included qualifying number one and then he defeated Warren Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, and Greg Anderson before losing to Richie Stevens in the finals.

After the race, Jason shared that he didn’t know how to describe the feeling. “It’s bittersweet to clinch it against Greg. I have to thank him for everything. If not for him giving me the chance to drive in the first place, I wouldn’t be standing here.”

Jason’s championship is his second overall and first in three years as a professional. He won the Stock title in 1993. The title remains in the KB Racing camp for the fourth straight year as his teammate Greg Anderson won it all from 2003-2005.

Jason also shared how important it was to keep the championship within the team. “There is a huge group of people responsible for what happens on the racetrack, and this championship will be shared by all of us,” Jason added. “It’s a great group that Ken has put together, and I’m proud to be a part of it, driver or not.”

Greg also spoke after the race. “I’m very excited for him,” Greg said. “Jason deserves it. I wouldn’t have won three championships without him.”

This year has been tremendous for Jason. He has been steady all season. Jason won four races in seven final-round showings and set the national elapsed time record on two separate occasions.

The championship is worth $200,000 from NHRA and POWERade. The 2004 Auto Club Rookie of the Year has been driving in the class for only three years.

By winning the title, Line, a former dyno operator for Joe Gibbs Racing where he was part of NASCAR championships won by Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, keeps the championship in the hands of team owner Ken Black. The retired Black lives in Las Vegas and had a huge contingent on hand for Sunday’s festivities.

“I can’t ever remember a two-car team having so much success in this class,” Greg added. “This is a strong team, and the fact we can win in either car says a lot. I’m so proud of Jason. He learned the game well, and together I think we’re a great one-two punch. We’re going to win championships for a long time to come.”

Back home, the Line family is quite proud. Jason’s father, Lawrence, is ecstatic. “It’s unbelievable,” said Lawrence. “It was one heck of a day.”

Lawrence and Maxine would have like to be in Las Vegas, but Lawrence recently had back surgery, and the doctor said no. “If the doctor would have let me go, we would have been there,” Lawrence added.

At any rate, the Line family has been invited out to the awards banquet later in November. It will most likely be another proud moment for the family.

This article first appeared in the October 31 issue of the Voyageur Press.