The 7th annual NHRA Four Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods was just another opportunity for the Summit Racing Pro Stock team to put their power on display, and they took full advantage of the current state of affairs. On Saturday it was Greg Anderson, driver of the red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, basking in the glory as he earned the 82nd low qualifier award of his career, and on Sunday in Charlotte, it was points leader Jason Line’s turn as he bested them all in a four-across battle for the trophy.
It was Line’s first four-wide win and second final in the once yearly competition. It was also the 40th Pro Stock win of a career that spans 13 years, which ties the Wright, Minnesota-born driver with Pro Stock veterans Kurt Johnson and Mike Edwards for fifth on the all-time win list.
“As I get older, I realize how difficult it is to win these races, and it becomes more and more special,” said Line, who resides near Mooresville, N.C. “It’s very exciting to win at home, and it’s tough to win the four-wide. I hadn’t before today, and I’ve never been very successful at it. I consider myself a middle-of-the-road driver, so to win this race is pretty gratifying.”
Line launched with gusto into eliminations in his Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, flying to a 6.555-second pass – the quickest yet in Pro Stock’s new era of electronic fuel injection – at a massive 211.86 mph. He and Delco & Perry Chevrolet Camaro driver Kenny Delco, who recorded a very respectable 6.609, 209.72, advanced from their quad. Mountain View Camaro pilot Vincent Noble (6.647, 210.05) and Kendall Oil Dodge Dart campaigner V. Gaines (7.223, 205.44) were turned away empty-handed.
In the second round, Line was again the top performer with a 6.568, 211.16. He and Elite Performance Chevrolet wheeler Drew Skillman, who moved ahead on a 6.617, 208.91, earned a ticket to the final. It was Delco (6.663, 207.98) and a tire-shaking Elite Performance Mopar Dodge Dart driver Erica Enders (11.597, 77.55) who were sent home.
The final round had four Chevrolet Camaros all in a row with KB Racing versus Skillman and Harlow Sammons Racing’s Chris McGaha. First off the starting line was Bo Butner, in the KB Racing-powered Jim Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro, but Line was not far behind. He made up the difference efficiently for a 6.565, 211.33 win over Butner’s 6.591, 210.77. Skillman was 6.620, 209.43 at the finish line stripe, and McGaha recorded a 6.646, 208.68. In the record books, the results will be printed as Line winning the event, Butner the runner-up, and Skillman and McGaha semifinalists.
In the oddest and, perhaps, most confusing events of the day, Deric Kramer left the starting line before the tree was activated in the second round, leaving all three of his quad-mates somewhat stunned. The best reaction time of the three remaining drivers was a .121-second launch recorded by Chris McGaha. Greg Anderson clocked a .237, and Butner was a mind-blowing .566 at the tree. Kramer was immediately disqualified with no time to log, and Anderson succumbed to tire shake as he tried to recover from the slow start.
“It’s just tough, but’s fine if everything goes smooth,” said Line of the four-wide format that breaks the norm from every other race on the circuit and invites unusual outcome. “In the final, we all four had decent lights and it was a good race, so it was fun. But you never know what’s going to happen with this deal.”
Line’s victory at the seventh rendition of the unique event at zMAX Dragway was the fourth Four-Wide Nationals win for Ken Black’s Mooresville, N.C.-based KB Racing. Summit Racing teammate Anderson won the event in 2011 and 2012, and Sweden’s multi-time FIA Pro Stock champion Jimmy Alund won it in 2014 in a KB Racing-powered Chevy Camaro.
Even more impressive, though, was the fact that the win in Charlotte marked the fifth consecutive victory for Team Summit and the KB Racing team. According to NHRA statistician Lewis Bloom, no other team in the history of NHRA Pro Stock has ever won the first five events in a season.
“We take a lot of pride in this, because we probably had more changes to make engine-wise than everyone else did,” said Line, referring to the new rules for 2016, which include a change from carbureted engines to electronic fuel injection, but, more critically for KB Racing, a 10,500 rpm rev limiter. “We relied on good old fashion effort, and John Meanie [of Big Stuff 3] was certainly a big part of that, as well as the folks at Holley who got us up and running and off to a good start. It comes down to a lot of effort and making a lot of dyno pulls to understand the system.”
The next race on the 2016 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, April 29-May 1, 2016.
For full results, visit DragRaceCentral.com.