COMMERCE, GA – May 11, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – As Jason Line has progressed throughout his standout Pro Stock career, the two-time world champion admits he has become a more mature and calm racer in almost every aspect.
That development has also allowed Line to enjoy a start to the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season that nobody could have predicted. Line and his longtime Summit Racing Equipment teammate Greg Anderson have dominated the first quarter of the season, combining for all six wins in the new-look Pro Stock class.
Line has three of those victories and the points lead in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro, advancing to the final round of all six races. Boasting an incredible 20-3 record during eliminations, Line will try to keep that hot streak going at this weekend’s 36th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
But the veteran has already made a point to enjoy the remarkable run he’s already experienced this year in Pro Stock.
“I’m certainly enjoying it a lot more than I would have maybe 10-15 years ago,” said Line, who is the defending winner of the Summit Racing NHRA Southern Nationals. “We haven’t dwelled on it, but it’s obviously been a lot of fun. It’s a huge deal to be this successful from our team’s standpoint. It’s more important than ever to have success, so it’s a huge deal.
“We’ve executed really well. Even back in 2004 when we had a dominant season, we didn’t execute as well as we have now. I think some of that is maturity and some of the things we’ve learned. You’re not going to be perfect, but I’m probably a little calmer these days as well.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Line in winner’s circle one year ago. The race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 with qualifying shows on Friday and Saturday and three hours of finals coverage on Sunday. It the seventh of 24 events in 2016, and the KB Racing team of Line, Anderson and Bo Butner have been a step ahead of everyone during this banner start.
The season brought huge changes to the class, including fuel-injected engines, shorter wheelie bars, flat hoods and a 10,500 RPM rev-limiter. But Line and company found something in the off-season that has worked flawlessly. Line, who has 40 career victories, might not have felt he had something to prove heading into the year, but finishing 2015 in eighth place certainly wasn’t satisfying.
“One of the things that drives all of us is when you get beat,” Line said. “You tend to either dig down or quit. I would like to think our team has dug down and used our resources the best we can. We know this won’t last forever and we would be foolish to think it would. But for me it’s about enjoying the moment. It’s fun and that’s what racing is all about.”
Winning and success makes it considerably easier to have fun at the track, but the challenge of learning the ways of the new cars has also been enjoyable for Line, who has 84 final round appearances. It has also caused him to work hard on changing a couple of his own characteristics.
“It definitely requires a different type of craft,” Line said. “Anybody who knows me well knows I am unorganized and unorthodox. For me, it’s been a challenge to keep everything organized. It’s been a challenge and maybe I’ve had to go at it at a different pace. There’s a lot to digest and learn, and you constantly have to pay attention. But it’s been good. We’ve learned things and hopefully we can continue to be successful. We’ve been on a roll and you want to try to keep it going as long as you can.”
Line would surely like to see the success continue at his sponsor’s race this weekend in Atlanta, but a strong group of contenders have other ideas. Anderson, Jeg Coughlin and Allen Johnson are the only other two active drivers with wins at Atlanta Dragway, while two-time and defending world champ Erica Enders, Drew Skillman, Butner and Chris McGaha are also expected to make a push for the Pro Stock Wally at Georgia’s House of Speed.
But Line, who has two No. 1 qualifiers this year and hasn’t qualified worse than third at any race, is ready to keep this hot streak going within the three-car team.
“The joy of being successful has been more spread out with all of our group and I think that’s important,” Line said. “I think everybody has to enjoy the success and it’s been good for everybody – friends, families, sponsors and just everyone on the team. For me that’s important. Everybody has been putting in a lot of effort and to enjoy the fruits of your labor is a big deal.”
In Top Fuel, Brown raced to his second victory of the 2015 season when he defeated Leah Pritchett in the Atlanta final one year ago, finishing off his year with a world championship. He has tallied four victories at Atlanta, the most of active Top Fuel drivers, but defending his Atlanta title will not be easy. Points leader Brittany Force picked up her second win of the season in Charlotte, while others to watch include Texan Steve Torrence, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher, who has yet to win the Southern Nationals, three-time event winner Doug Kalitta, who won in Houston, Terry McMillen, Clay Millican, J.R. Todd, 2014 Rookie of the Year Richie Crampton and Shawn Langdon.
Red-hot Wilkerson raced to the Funny Car title at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals last year and already has two wins in three finals in 2016. The star-studded class also includes standouts like Alexis DeJoria, who won in Las Vegas, reigning world champ Del Worsham, Robert Hight, a three-time Atlanta winner, seven-time event winner John Force, Jack Beckman, Pomona winner Capps, Courtney Force, who shares the points lead with Wilkerson following her win in Houston, Chad Head and two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle category will hit the track for the third of 16 events this season. Eddie Krawiec is the current points leader and will look to hold off a talented field that boasts plenty of championship level talent. That includes teammate and reigning world champion Andrew Hines, a two-time Atlanta winner who won last weekend in Charlotte, and three-time world champ Angelle Sampey, who has four wins at the track. Others gunning for the Wally include Louisiana alligator farmer Jerry Savoie, 2011 event winner LE Tonglet, Hector Arana Jr., Chip Ellis, veteran rider Steve Johnson, Hector Arana Sr., two-time champ Matt Smith and 21-year-old rookie Melissa Surber.
The race will also feature plenty of thrilling action in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series, which makes its third stop of 2016.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta will feature two rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, May 14, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 15.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 36th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, the seventh of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. Competition in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Series also will be featured at this event.
WHERE: Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga. I-85 to Exit 149 (Hwy 441). After exiting the freeway, go north on Highway 441 to Steven Tanger Blvd. Take left on Tanger and then go right on Ridgeway Road.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 1,100 feet above sea level; Track direction is southeast to northwest.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, May 13-15, 2016
FRIDAY, May 13 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 3:15 and 5:45 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4 and 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, May 14 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 12:45 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 3:15 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, May 15 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday, May 13, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Saturday, May 14, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, May 15, FS1 will televise three hours of finals coverage at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
2015 EVENT WINNERS: Antron Brown, Top Fuel; Tim Wilkerson, Funny Car; Jason Line, Pro Stock, Hector Arana, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST VICTORIES: Dave Schultz, 8, PSM; John Force, 7, FC; Antron Brown, 6, TF/PSM; Warren Johnson, 5, PS; Kenny Bernstein, 4, TF/FC; Larry Dixon, 4, TF; Angelle Sampey, 4, PSM; Greg Anderson, 4, PS; Lee Shepherd, 4, PS.
Top Fuel – 3.732 sec. and 328.86 mph by Doug Kalitta, May ’14.
Funny Car – 4.010 sec. by Cruz Pedregon, May ’15; 320.58 mph by Courtney Force, May ’14.
Pro Stock – 6.493 sec. by Erica Enders, May ’14; 213.00 mph by Jason Line, May ’14.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.794 sec. and 197.54 mph by Eddie Krawiec, May ’14.
Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.879 sec. by Jack Beckman, March ‘16, Gainesville, Fla.; 331.45 mph by Matt Hagan, Nov. ’15, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, CA — Point standings (top 10) following the sixth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Brittany Force, 464; 2. Doug Kalitta, 463; 3. Antron Brown, 445; 4. Steve Torrence, 417; 5. Clay Millican, 355; 6. J.R. Todd, 316; 7. Tony Schumacher, 295; 8. Leah Pritchett, 291; 9. Richie Crampton, 275; 10. Terry McMillen, 259.
1. (tie) Courtney Force, 439; Tim Wilkerson, 439; 3. Ron Capps, 417; 4. Robert Hight, 404; 5. John Force, 384; 6. Jack Beckman, 379; 7. Del Worsham, 376; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 339; 9. Chad Head, 303; 10. Matt Hagan, 280.
1. Jason Line, 689; 2. Greg Anderson, 610; 3. Bo Butner, 508; 4. Drew Skillman, 399; 5. Chris McGaha, 339; 6. Allen Johnson, 318; 7. Vincent Nobile, 262; 8. Erica Enders, 257; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 255; 10. Alex Laughlin, 220.
Pro Stock Motorcycle:
1. Eddie Krawiec, 232; 2. Andrew Hines, 197; 3. Hector Arana, 154; 4. Chip Ellis, 135; 5. Jerry Savoie, 108; 6. LE Tonglet, 107; 7. Michael Ray, 104; 8. Matt Smith, 93; 9. Angelle Sampey, 92; 10. Jim Underdahl, 84.