Jason Line was all business when he arrived at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. The driver of the silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro came to the event with 48 Pro Stock wins on his scorecard, but none of them had actually taken place on the hallowed grounds of the facility where he cut his racing teeth. On Sunday in Brainerd, though, Line righted the ship and scored the trophy, putting Team Summit – plus a gigantic group of friends and family – in the winner’s circle with a final-round defeat of Erica Enders.
“It was a good weekend, and today was very cool,” said Line, who had the quickest car in every round of qualifying to secure the 55th pole of his career and lay the groundwork for a trophy on Sunday. “You want to win in front of your friends and family; as fun as it is for me, it’s probably just as much fun for them. For me to see them and see how happy they are, that makes it super special.”
Line’s Summit Racing Chevy was a beast throughout eliminations. In the opening act, he made the second-quickest run of the round, utilizing a 6.589-second pass at 208.78 – the best speed of round one – to advance over Wally Stroupe’s 6.714, 205.38. With lane choice over Alex Laughlin in round two, Line launched first by .004-second and recorded low elapsed time of the event, 6.583 at 209.26, to send Laughlin home on a 6.610, 207.50.
The semifinals set Line up against KB Racing teammate Deric Kramer, and when his opponent fouled out by .041-second then shook the tires, the streaking silver Summit Racing Chevy got the nod with the quickest and fastest pass of the round, 6.590, 209.94.
In the other lane for the final round, Line found Enders, a driver who was 21-20 against him in prior events and 4-1 against him in previous finals. This time, Line wasn’t having it. He dealt Enders his best reaction time of the day, a .016 to her .014, and inched ahead before the stripe to win by just .005 on a 6.597, 209.10 to 6.604, 207.59.
“I have my moments but she’s as good as anybody ever, as far as letting her left foot out. I don’t care who that is, whether it’s Coughlin or Alderman or Connolly or Tanner Gray – anyone. She’s as good as there has ever been,” said Line. “My goal is to get close to her and hopefully outrun her, and we did that today.”
The victory is actually Line’s second Lucas Oil Nationals win, but his first came in 2014 in a rain-delayed final round that took place two weeks later during qualifying for the U.S. Nationals, far away from BIR, his family and friends. This weekend’s celebration was exceptionally joyful because he could share it with all of those folks who missed it the first time around.
It also continued a streak, making this the 16th consecutive season in which Line has won in Pro Stock. It is the longest winning streak of any active Pro driver.
“As we get older, we realize these moments will be fewer and farther between,” said Line. “This is very special. I’m super excited – well, as excited as I get, anyway. My dad, Lawrence, he’s kind of a numbers guy, and he likes streaks, so he makes a big deal out of the fact that I’ve won a race every year I’ve raced in Pro Stock. He puts a lot of pressure on me to make sure that continues, so to do it here in front of him is very cool. I’m pretty sure he’s proud. It was just a great weekend and a fun day, for sure.”
With the win, Line moved up to No. 4 in the Pro Stock points with just one race to go before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship field is set.