Newly crowned NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Jason Line reviews his title-winning season ahead of next week's Full Throttle Drag Racing season finale at Pomona.
In what many have called his most successful season in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Pro Stock driver Jason Line has dominated the class in 2011. Line showed early that he had the car to beat when he carted his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to back-to-back wins to start the season in Pomona and Gainesville, followed by a third in Atlanta.
In total, Line has raced to six wins in eight final-round appearances and racked up seven number one qualifiers, and following his semifinal round appearance of the recently completed Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, became the first driver to clinch an NHRA crown in 2011. Line met with the media ahead of the Nov. 13 Auto Club World Finals at Pomona that concludes the season.
What did it mean to clinch your second NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock World Championship in the hometown of your team owner, Ken Black?
"Obviously, that's a huge deal. To show off for Ken is a great thing. We wanted to win the race and do it and clinch the championship in championship style, but it didn't quite happen, and I guess everything doesn't have a storybook ending. But still it's been a great year, and to do it there in their hometown in front of all of their friends means a lot to us."
How gratifying was it to seal the deal with all the challenges that Ken has been through the last couple of years?
"It was really gratifying. It's kind of a strange deal because I just lost. I red lighted. The story of my life I'm never quite on time. I'm either early or late, one of the two. It's sort of bittersweet. Obviously, we just lost the round and felt like we had a car to go to the final round with and didn't quite do that.
"At the same time, here across the street Dan Wheldon loses his life less than a week before that. So a lot of those things going through your head at at the same time. You might be happy, but there is still time to, I guess, think about things and reflect and realize how lucky we are to be doing what we're doing. It was a great feeling, but like I say, it was a little bit bittersweet."
Looking forward to next year, recently Jeg Coughlin Jr. announced he's going to be coming back into Pro Stock and they're going to be in a Dodge. You're kind of rivals, but at the same time you're kind of like friends, too. What is your take on his coming in in a Dodge?
"Well, I think we're definitely rivals, probably more rivals than friends, probably. It's a great thing that he's coming back in. Come on in, the water's fine.
"Being in a Dodge is a good thing also. Dodge has put a lot of effort into Pro Stock, and hopefully our GM is up for the task. But I think it's a great thing. He's obviously a fan favorite and good for the sport. So I think that there's nothing bad about that at all, so we look forward to it."
Regarding Pomona, this is typically a track where KB Racing has done very well, racking up quite a few wins and you yourself being very successful there. How important is it for you to finish this championship season with a win in Pomona?
"It's really important. This is the most races I've ever won in a year, and obviously to get the chance to win even more. Again, to go in championship style obviously is my goal, it's our goal, so hopefully we can do that, and just as important is to get Greg into second. So we have a lot of work to do for the weekend, and we're doing everything we can to make that happen.
"Yeah, it's really important. If you want to be the best you should have to do it every week. So that is our goal, and hopefully we can go to Pomona and make that happen."
What is the shelf life for the Pontiac GXP body style? And what is GM looking at for the next generation Pro Stock car?
"It's definitely going to be a Camaro, from what I understand. I think it's deep into the works, and hopefully we don't have to race the Pontiac too much longer. Obviously, we need to be running a brand that's a little more relevant or at least one that exists.
"I think probably you're looking at early to middle of next year us being in a Camaro. And to answer your question, I think that we actually have two more years that we can run the Pontiac, but obviously that is not something that we want to do. We want to be in a Camaro as soon as we can."