Drag racing is all about goals. For a handful of racers, the goal is simply to have fun. For most, though, the target is something a bit more tangible. Everyone wants a trophy, of course, but for a select few, what they’re really after is a timeslip imprinted with very specific numbers. Case in point: Jason Line and his five-year quest to break into the 9-second zone with his Buick GS.
Line accomplished the feat at Numidia Dragway during the 2021 Class Racer Nationals, busting into the nines in rewarding fashion with a 9.983-second pass at 131.02 mph. He had come close before with an official time of 10.002 in the first qualifying session at the U.S. Nationals in 2019, but going quicker than 10-seconds had been just out of reach since.
“This was probably the most excited I’ve been about something in many years,” said Line, who generally enters his Buick in the C/SA class and reached the milestone during the Top Stock shootout at the Class Racer Nationals. “This was five or six years of work that finally culminated into that one timeslip we were looking for, just to be able to say we did it. Everybody races for different reasons, and trying to see how fast you can make your machine go is a big portion of why I race.”
Perhaps what’s most impressive about Line’s 9.983 was that it occurred at a racetrack that sits at over 2,000-feet corrected altitude. Notably, his 10-flat pass at Indy in 2019 was the same.
“Most people are smarter than I am; when they go try to run in the nines, they go to a sea level track,” laughed Line. “But this was the one race I was going to run this year. I entered Top Stock because [race promoter] Ken Miele told me they were one car short and asked if I would enter to fill the field. I didn’t think we’d be competitive, but he asked, and I said we’d do it. I have him to thank for this.”
Racing as a Family
Anyone who follows NHRA drag racing knows that racing roots run deep for Minnesota-born folks who answer to the surname Line. Every member of the family races, including each of Line’s three siblings, dad Lawrence, and mom Maxine. Stock Eliminator was meat-and-potatoes for the Line kids, and their healthy racing diet produced not only a second-generation of drag racers, but also a third with Hannah (brother Lance’s daughter) entering the category as soon as she was eligible. Line’s son, Jack, has been an active participant in his dad’s Stock Eliminator racing in the last few years, and he was on site for the exhilarating 9-second pass, along with his mother, Cindy, and sister, Emma.
“Jack’s the crew chief,” explained Line. “He makes sure the tires are good, the tank has gas in it, and that his driver isn’t doing anything particularly stupid. He has a lot of roles, actually, and this accomplishment really comes down to Jack and myself – along with Dan [Blabolil, of KB Racing] and Alf Wiebe – working pretty hard on it. I think Jack wants to race in the future, so eventually he’s going to get himself a racecar, and we’ll have to work on that. I’m good with it.”
Proving it was not a fluke, Line recorded two additional passes in the nines at Numidia Dragway that weekend, posing the natural question of “what’s next?”
“At some point, I would like to race again and actually try to beat somebody,” stated Line in his characteristic self-deprecating manner. “If you’re going to do it, that’s how it should be done, but I don’t multitask well. I just try to go fast or try to win; I’m not capable of doing both. At some point, it would be fun to try to be competitive again.”
Off the Cuff
Greg Stanfield, another former Sportsman champion who also enjoyed a successful stint in Pro Stock, recently re-emerged as a threat in the Super Stock category. So far this year he has three wins at the division level and is currently No. 4 in the championship standings. His son, Aaron Stanfield, has developed as a genuine threat in the Pro Stock class at the national event level with three wins and four final rounds on the season.
“Greg Stanfield is kind of an old washed-up has-been, too, and he’s done well,” said Line, justifying his own potential resurgence with the jesting comparison. “And it’s cool that he and his son get to race together. I wouldn’t mind that.”
Jason Line acquired his 1970 Buick GS in 1992 from fellow class racer Marion Stephenson.
“It came from a junk yard, and he gave us a great deal,” said Line. “My dad actually loaned me the money for the car. I had to beg him for it, and I promised that if he borrowed the money, I’d win a national event with it. It was a dumb promise, but somehow, I made good on it. This car has been part of our family for a long time, so I guess I’m kind of stuck with it.”