This weekend, while most of the competitors in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series enjoy some well-deserved time off following the conclusion of this year’s demanding Western Swing, reigning Pro Stock champion Jason Line will be once again strapping himself into a racing vehicle. However, it will not be his familiar blue Summit Racing Pro Stock Chevrolet Camaro, or any of the cars currently in the KB Racing stable.
In fact, it will be not be a car at all, as the Minnesota native will venture away from his chosen sport to climb behind the wheel of a full-sized crew cab pickup truck taking part in Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, pursuing both personal and class records.
“The Bonneville Salt Flats is a unique motorsports venue known throughout the world, and being able to race there is every gearhead’s dream,” said Line. “I can’t remember how the entire discussion started, but one thing led to another and here we are. Just to have the opportunity to go there and have a chance to compete is way cool, and to be able to do it with Summit Racing and Wayne Jesel and his Jesel Land Speed Team makes it even better.”
Although Line will be a rookie on the salt, his mount will certainly not be. Built by Wayne Jesel of Jesel Valvetrain Innovation and his Jesel Land Speed Team, it started life as a simple shop truck before being converted for high-speed duty. Although it has reached speeds exceeding 270 mph in previous iterations, for this purpose it will be equipped with a motor Line is quite familiar with – a General Motors Drag Racing Competition Engine (DRCE2).
With a total weight of 7,200 pounds including 1,200 for ballast, it is almost three times heavier than Line’s normal ride, and at 32.1 square feet, it has the aerodynamic profile of a sheet of plywood. Still, competing in the A/Modified Production class, the team hopes to break the class record of 191 mph while also getting Line into the prestigious 200-mph club.
But before he can set his sights on any records, just like any first-time racer, Line will have to go through the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) licensing procedure. After attending a rookie orientation meeting, he will be required to make runs at a varying speed levels to prove his competency, something he should be able to complete on Saturday, giving the Jesel Land Speed/Summit Racing team all day Sunday to reach their goals.
“This weekend should be a lot of fun and a very interesting experience,” said Line. “This will be my first driving experience outside of the drag racing world, and I hope I can hold attention for as long as the runs take, although I really doubt it will be a problem.
“Seriously, I can’t wait to get out there and get behind the wheel, seeing how the truck feels, as well as what it feels like to drive on the salt. Everything is going to be completely new for me, so I will tiptoe my way through the early stages, learning as much as I can while enjoying the ride. Once I complete my licensing runs and get comfortable with how the truck behaves, then we’ll focus on going as fast as we can.”
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