Jason Line’s five No. 1 starts this year have dominated the NHRA Pro Stock qualifying scene. Even more remarkable is his record of five consecutive top positions from August to October 2011 (from Brainerd, Minn., through Reading, Pa.).
That’s why he’s leading the line-up for the K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus race that will take place Saturday, July 7 as part of the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals, at Summit Motorsports Park at Norwalk, Ohio.
Meanwhile, in the nitro ranks, the slots are quickly filling for the $100,000-to-win Traxxas Shootouts that are scheduled for Sept. 1 and 2, during the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Raceway.
While the Don Schumacher Racing organization has locked in the first two Top Fuel Traxxas Shootout spots for Spencer Massey and Antron Brown, it’s more of a free-for-all with Morgan Lucas, Steve Torrence, and Dave Grubnic also guaranteeing spots in the eight-car field. But in the Funny Car Traxxas Shootout, John Force Racing grabbed the first three of eight berths with Force, Robert Hight, and Mike Neff, and DSR drivers Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, and Johnny Gray earned the other three.
Unlike the K&N Horsepower Challenge, the Traxxas Nitro Shootout spots go to race winners and start at the beginning of the season. The Pro Stock bonus race qualifying starts in June and runs until the next June.
In the K&N Horsepower Challenge, Line’s rivals have two more races — this week’s Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn., and the O’Reilly Nationals at Route 66 Raceway at Joliet, Ill., two weeks later — to knock him off his perch for the eight-car, three-round, $50,000-to-win event.
Only No. 2-ranked Mike Edwards and No. 3 Greg Anderson, Line’s KB/Summit teammate, have a mathematical chance to take the top Challenge
spot, but either one would have to earn the maximum 175 points at both Bristol and Joliet. It’s possible, but it’s a tough order to fill.
With Line preoccupied by preparing Anderson’s new Chevy Camaro — which beat his retiring Pontiac GXP in the recent Englishtown final round — and rolling out his own brand-new Camaro at Bristol, Edwards and Anderson have a chance. But Line hardly has missed a competitive beat and when $50,000 is at stake, he’ll be ready to race.
“Even though we are locked into the field, this entire KB Racing team is going to work very hard to keep our No. 1 ranking,” Line said. “After all, there’s going to be a lot of money on the table, and we want to take home the win and the big check.” He said Summit, the event and racetrack sponsor at Norwalk, “likes nothing better than to see us go faster than everyone else. And we want to do whatever is necessary to make Summit Racing proud that we carry their name on the side of our race cars.
“I can’t say enough about K&N’s contributions to the sport of drag racing and the Pro Stock class. I appreciate everything they do for us. They are a great company with tremendous people and an even better product,” he said.
We are trying to be close to the ragged edge. You have to be that way to outrun the Summit cars and Vincent [Nobile] and Mike [Edwards]. You have to be on the edge, this side of the edge.
“We are trying to be close to the ragged edge,” Johnson said. “You have to be that way to outrun the Summit cars and Vincent [Nobile] and Mike [Edwards]. You have to be on the edge, this side of the edge. The goal is to be consistent while not shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Like Line, Johnson credited K&N and Vice-President Steve Williams for its fifth year as the title sponsor of the event and its support of the Pro Stock class.
“The program brings a bright spotlight and shines it on the exciting and highly competitive racing that exists today in the Pro Stock class. I think I speak for all Pro Stock drivers when I say we can’t thank the folks at K&N enough for all they have done to promote our sport through the K&N Horsepower Challenge,” Johnson said. “The spotlight they put on our class is much appreciated. And the opportunity to race our way into this special shootout, just the prestige of running in the K&N event, is very, very important to me and our team. I wear my K&N championship ring proudly.”
Fans once again have the chance to vote for their favorite driver as the eighth and final participant. They may do so by visiting the NHRA website at
Fans had the chance to enter through June 4 for the K&N Horsepower Sweepstakes for a chance to be selected as one of eight finalists who will be flown with a companion to Norwalk for this year’s event, where they will be paired with one of the eight qualified drivers. The finalist whose driver wins the HPC will also receive a fully custom K&N Horsepower Challenge Edition Toyota Tundra a unique 2012 V-8 Double Cab specifically created by Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and K&N Filters for this event.
The Traxxas Shootouts also allow for fan participation. The eighth and final spots in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car versions will be filled by fan vote and lottery drawing.
Teams qualify for the Traxxas events by winning a Full Throttle Drag Racing Series race during the so-called “regular season,” being No. 1 in the standings at the end of the August race at Brainerd, Minn., or via fan vote/lottery drawing.
Only one open spot remains in the Funny Car race, and two are still up for grabs in Top Fuel.