INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 2, 2019) – The 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals didn’t produce a win for Team Summit, but it certainly brought a ton of excitement as the KB Racing Pro Stock team showed a bit of their hand and claimed two of the top three spots in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Bo Butner, driver of the Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro, claimed enough points in qualifying and on raceday to lock in as the No. 1 seed in the Countdown. Jason Line, driver of the silver Summit Racing Chevy Camaro, amassed plentiful points in qualifying and added to the pile with a semifinals finish on Monday to claim the No. 3 spot in the championship lineup. Red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro pilot Greg Anderson, with two wins on the season, is the No. 4 man in the Countdown.
No. 1 qualifier Butner was handed the win in the first round when Kenny Delco red-lighted by -.002, but the 2017 world champ went ahead and sealed the deal with one of the quickest passes of the round and of the day, a 6.598-second blast at 209.20 mph. He went on to clock a 6.617, 208.71 in the second round that just wasn’t enough to match fellow KB Racing-powered competitor Deric Kramer and his best-of-the-round 6.597, 209.17.
“We had a good car today with my Jim Butner Auto Group Chevy Camaro,” said Butner. “It’s the right time, and I like our chances everywhere we go. It’s really cool that we get to be the No. 1 seed in the Countdown to the Championship, and on Sunday in Pomona, somebody is going to be watching the final round and win the championship. Every point matters. We want KB Racing to finish 1-2-3, and we’re going to work hard to make that happen and not let anyone get between us.”
Line had low elapsed time of eliminations and top speed of raceday with his 6.579 at 209.56 to dispatch Shane Tucker in the first round with his Summit Racing steed. Fully dialed in for round two, Line launched with a jaw-dropping .009-second reaction time and capped off a deafening win over Jeg Coughlin, 6.597 at 209.14 to 6.623, 208.04.
The three-time Pro Stock Mello Yello Series champ laid down another solid pass in the semis, a 6.617, 209.30 that was best of the round, but Erica Enders’ .010 light to a respectable but just a tick slower .027 was the decider; Enders won by .007-second on a 6.627, 207.56.
“My silver Summit Racing Chevy is a really good car, and we’re very happy with it,” said Line. “I wasn’t particularly pleased with the outcome today, but you’ll have that. The important thing is that we go into the Countdown with a fast car and a chance to win the first race. We know we have that, so I’m excited and certainly looking forward to what could happen over the next six races. It was a good weekend here – not a great weekend – but we had a lot of fun. I enjoyed racing my Stocker, and I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity to do it again.”
Anderson, who was No. 2 in the points entering the event, made his best run of the weekend in the opening round to send KB Racing teammate Fernando Cuadra Jr. packing. The red Summit Racing Chevy flew to a 6.593, 209.04 over a 6.677, 208.23. Anderson was 18-15 over Enders heading into the second round and had lane choice for their rendezvous, but his opponent was challenged by the 93-time Pro Stock winner and picked up the pace, clocking a 6.609, 207.94 over a 6.617, 209.07.
“We definitely gained some ground overnight with my Summit Racing Chevy Camaro,” said Anderson. “Our run in the first round was pretty respectable – the only one faster was Jason’s rocket ship. We’re very happy with that, but unfortunately, second round, we didn’t make as good a run. We slipped. The driver slipped, and you can’t do that in Pro Stock. The car has to be perfect, and so does the driver. Neither one was second round, so it was a tough day at the office. We did see a little glimmer of hope that first round, and we’ll take that into the Countdown and build on it.”
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis marked the conclusion of the regular season. The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship will begin in Reading, Penn., Sept. 12-15 with the Dodge NHRA Nationals.
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
R1: Jason Line defeated Shane Tucker, 6.579-second at 209.56 mph to 6.579, 209.56 to 6.653, 203.92
R2: Line def. Jeg Coughlin, 6.597, 209.14 to 6.623, 208.04
R3: Erica Enders def. Line, 6.609, 207.94 to 6.617, 208.71
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
R1: Greg Anderson defeated Fernando Cuadra Jr., 6.593-second at 209.04 mph to 6.677, 208.23
R2: Erica Enders def. Anderson, 6.609, 207.94 to 6.617, 209.07
KB Racing, Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
R1: Bo Butner defeated Kenny Delco, 6.598-second at 209.20 mph to 6.605, 207.85
R2: Deric Kramer def. Butner, 6.597, 209.17 to 6.617, 208.71
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings
(after Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, race 12 of 18)
1. Bo Butner (4), 969*
2. Alex Laughlin (1), 967*
3. Jason Line (1), 906*
4. Greg Anderson (2), 884*
5. Erica Enders, 853*
6. Deric Kramer (1), 818*
7. Matt Hartford (1), 809*
8. Jeg Coughlin (1), 745*
9. Chris McGaha (1), 630*
10. Val Smeland, 429*
*Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
**Full results at DragRaceCentral.com**