Jason Line said he always tries to put his KB/ Summit Racing Chevy Camaro in the Pro Stock class' No. 1 starting position.
And he did it Saturday in the final round of qualifying for the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals near Reading, Pa. with a 6.515-second elapsed time at 212.36 mph on the Maple Grove Raceway quarter-mile.
And that sounds like an obvious goal.
But it wasn't what his teammate, Greg Anderson, was trying to do Saturday.
Line was amused by the way Anderson lifted off the throttle in an attempt to position himself on the starting grid so he could face points leader and season-long rival Allen Johnson in the hope of defeating him in the first round.
"It was entertaining to watch Greg try to pick his spot. He lifted. He was trying to pick his spot on the ladder. He was trying to race A.J. early and knock him out. That didn’t work out too well," Line said, chuckling. "If he had just kept it to the floor, he would have been on the pole. He was faster than I was at 1,000 feet."
Instead, the Summit tandem will be cheering for Vincent Nobile to help them do their work in making up ground on Johnson in this fourth of six Countdown to the Championship events.
Johnson came into this race with a 109-point lead on No. 2-ranked Line. In qualifying, Line earned more bonus points than anyone in the class, with nine. Johnson and early leader V Gaines each grabbed six.
"Vincent is certainly capable of beating him," Line said. "Tomorrow it should be fun to watch, especially if it's cold out. You could see a record fall besides. That 20 points could come in real handy."
As for his own chance to rewrite the national E.T. record he set here a year ago, Line said, "We should've been faster than we were. I don't know why we weren't. Certainly these cars are capable of going .44 or .45 very easily, maybe even faster. It takes the perfect conditions and the perfect racetrack. To have all those things line up is difficult."
A record simply would be an extra reward for Line, who said he and Anderson "feel we have a chance to win the race and certainly do some damage to A.J.
"Obviously that's the goal," he said, acknowledging that that's "easier said than done. A lot of things have to fall into place for that to happen."
Line said jockeying for position on the ladder is a risky proposition and that he always would choose just trying to race to the top of the order.
"There are too many variables," he said. "You've got to count on everybody else to do the right thing. We don't even know what we're going to do, let alone what anybody else is going to do," he said. "I just try to be No. 1. That's my goal always."
He was, although his E.T. wasn't the stunning 6.477-second beauty with which he set the national record here a year ago, but it was strong enough to give him his second straight No. 1 qualifying position, seventh of the year and 31st of his career -- along with a match-up against Shane Gray in Sunday's first round of eliminations.
Line denied 65-year-old V Gaines the first top-qualifying position of his 19-year Pro Stock career. Gaines had led after the middle two sessions.
Johnson didn't talk as though all the KB/Summit team's strategizing was bothering him. All he chose to talk about was being prepared for Nobile.
"We have to go out and do our job in the first round tomorrow," Johnson said. "Vincent is always a tough opponent, and he has just as good of a car as us. And we know he has plenty of horsepower under the hoods with the engines that dad [Roy Johnson] and his guys build. Every round out here is tough, and tomorrow will be no different."
Line knows that, too.
First-round Pro Stock pairings include Mike Edwards vs. Ronnie Humphrey, Gaines vs. Warren Johnson, Anderson vs. Larry Morgan, Erica Enders vs. Kurt Johnson, Jeg Coughlin vs. Ron Krisher, and Dave Connolly vs. Frank Gugliotta.
All articles and photography published in CompetitionPlus.com are protected by United States of America and International copyright laws unless mentioned otherwise. The content on this website is intended for the private use of the reader and may not be published or reposted in any form without the prior written consent of CompetitionPlus.com.
|< Prev||Next >|