After his Friday night mea culpa for not getting his KB / Summit Racing Chevy Camaro in the 6.4-second range during qualifying for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, Jason Line made up for it big-time Saturday.
In the third of four overall qualifying sessions, Line made the fans in suburban St. Louis sit up straight -- even stand up -- and take notice. He clocked a track-record 6.496-second elapsed time at an impressive 213.47 mph on the Gateway Motorsports Park quarter-mile that ties the fifth fastest pass in Pro Stock history.
With that, Line ensured he would lead the field into eliminations for the 30th time in his career and the sixth time this season.
With this stout showing at Madison, Ill., Line owns three of the top 10 Pro Stock speeds, all three set this year. The other two came at the spring Charlotte Four-Wide race. His E.T. Saturday didn't crack the top 10 on the all-time list, but Line already has recorded the top four speeds -- all last October at Reading, Pa., which happens to be the next stop in the Countdown, next week.
The reigning and two-time champion will face four-time class champ Jeg Coughlin in the opening round Sunday.
Line said his team Saturday was "working on trying to get three points. All the little points matter. They don't mean anything if you don't get the big points. I feel like we have the car to beat. I just need to go out there and do a good job and make it happen."
He said he's "super-excited about the Camaro. It has taken us awhile to come around but we have a great car -- at least for the weekend."
Asked whether he was surprised not to see more 6.40-second runs Saturday morning, Line said, "I was surprised there was one!" Changing his prediction from Friday night, he said, "I didn't think we could go a .40. I think it was probably the best corrected run we've made. I was more surprised that there was one in the first place and even more surprised that we did it. It felt good, though. It was a nice run."
Line generally hesitates to compliment himself, but he had to admit that third-session run was "pretty darn close" to being perfect. "It was probably as close as we're going to come to making a perfect run. You can always pick something apart. But really, it was an awful nice run."
He said when he looked at the time sheet after the pass, he described it as "a home run." Said Line, "That's hard to do. It's been years since I had one of those."
He said he was especially excited for his team, "because we've worked pretty hard and haven't gotten much for it" since the Camaro arrived at the KB/Summit shop in Mooresville, N.C.
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