READING, Pa. (Sept. 15, 2019) – Jason Line’s silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro has been a mean hot rod for the past few races, and on raceday at the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, the power of his KB Racing Pro Stocker was again rewarded with victory.
Brainerd winner Line scored the first win of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship with a final-round defeat of KB Racing teammate Fernando Cuadra and vaulted into the points lead on Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway.
It was the 50th Pro Stock win of Line’s career and 52nd overall, including his two Stock Eliminator victories.
“This is probably the best Summit Racing Chevy Camaro I’ve ever had, and all I have to do is not mess it up,” said Line, following the 46th all-KB Racing final round and 158th win for Ken Black’s Mooresville, N.C., based team.
“It was a lot of fun to have Fernando in the other lane. I have to say congratulations to him; it was his first final round, and they did a heck of a job. He’s going to get a win – it just wasn’t going to be today.”
In the final, Cuadra was first to launch by a bunch, but Line made up ground efficiently with the most powerful Chevy Camaro on the property and laid down a 6.553-second pass at 210.60 mph to his challenger’s 6.594, 208.78. The margin of victory for the silver Summit Racing Chevy was just .009-second.
“I did not do good in the final by any means – other than not hitting anything – but I had a great hot rod, and I was pretty fortunate today,” admitted Line.
“If you would have asked me at Seattle if we had a chance to win the championship, I would have told you no. But right now, we arguably have the best car. I’m not trading with anybody, that’s for sure. We have a good chance, all we have to do is do a good job driving, and it will happen. That’s easier said than done, but that’s what makes Mello Yello drag racing great.”
No. 3 qualifier Line disposed of Wally Stroupe in the first round with low elapsed time of raceday, 6.540, 210.44 mph to a tire-rattling 17.922, 45.55, then sliced into KB Racing teammate Bo Butner with a .008-second reaction time and 6.549, 210.41 to his opponent’s 6.575, 210.41.
“Bo Butner should stay away from Jason Line,” said Butner, following the round that took him out of the top spot in the Pro Stock points for the first time all year. “You want to win the first race of the Countdown, but you really want to win the first round, and we did that. But Jason has the car of the class right now, and he did what he needed to.
“If I liked him a lot more, I’d probably put a picture of me on his dash. When he’s thinking of me, he’s never worse than .015 on the tree. He does not want to lose to me; it’s like I’m his little brother. But I’m going to start being a mean little brother.”
Following his defeat of Butner, Line seized the opportunity to take down Matt Hartford, who had knocked Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson out in the opening act. Line was 6.572, 210.57 to 6.604, 210.73 to get the win light over Hartford and reach his third Reading final round.
Line has won all three times he’s reached the money round at Maple Grove Raceway, and he’s had to defeat a KB Racing teammate in each of those three meetings: in 2004 he bested Team Summit counterpart Anderson, in 2011 it was KB Racing-powered Ronnie Humphrey, and this year Cuadra was on the receiving end of Line’s powerful Pennsylvania punch.
“This track has been very good to me,” said Line. “Over the years, I’ve traditionally had fast cars here. I’m not sure why it’s trended that way, but I like this place.”
Anderson had high hopes for the red Summit Racing Chevy Camaro entering the event. He holds the track record for speed at 214.59 mph, which he set in 2015, and reached the Reading final in three of the past four years. This time around, he battled in qualifying and started from the No. 10 position, setting up the first-round meeting with Hartford.
“We just have a mystery with my car right now. It’s a good car, it just has a very small tuning window, and you have to be perfect. That’s tough to do every time,” said Anderson, who is now No. 8 in the championship points. “We’re going to see if we can figure this out. We know we have to do something, and quick. We’re going to go and test before St. Louis, and with all of the resources that we have, and all of the support, we know we can get this sorted out.
“It was a disappointing day for us in terms of the red Summit Racing Chevy Camaro, but we were very happy to see another all KB Racing final round. Fernando Cuadra had a great day today, his best ever in Pro Stock, and Jason’s day was even better. So, a good day for the team overall, we just have some work to do with the red car.”
The next event on the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is race two of six in the Countdown to the Championship, the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis, September 27-29.
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 1
R1: Jason Line defeated Wally Stroupe, 6.540-second at 210.44 mph to 17.922, 45.55
R2: Line def. Bo Butner, 6.549, 210.41 to 6.575, 210.41
R3: Line def. Matt Hartford, 6.572, 210.57 to 6.604, 210.73
R4: Line def. Fernando Cuadra, 6.553, 210.60 to 6.594, 208.78
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 8
R1: Matt Hartford defeated Greg Anderson, 6.578-second at 209.75 mph to 6.622, 211.06
KB Racing, Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 2
R1: Bo Butner defeated Aaron Stanfield, 6.549-second at 210.21 mph to 6.557, 210.54
R2: Jason Line def. Butner, 6.549, 210.41 to 6.575, 210.41
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings
(after Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, NHRA Countdown to the Championship race 1 of 6)
1. Jason Line (2), 2194
2. Bo Butner (4), 2155
3. Alex Laughlin (1), 2139
4. Erica Enders, 2116
5. Matt Hartford (1), 2103
6. Jeg Coughlin (1), 2099
7. Deric Kramer (1), 2095
8. Greg Anderson (2), 2092
9. Chris McGaha (1), 2041
10. Val Smeland, 2031
35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway
September 12-15, 2019
**Full results at DragRaceCentral.com**