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2014 NHRA: Pro Stock's Jason Line Has Plenty Of Reasons To Be Excited Heading To O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Posted by: newsla on Jun 25, 2014 - 04:48 PM
2014 NHRA: Pro Stock's Jason Line Has Plenty Of Reasons To Be Excited Heading To O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Past success, multiple days of night qualifying and even an ideal menu selection are just a few reasons why Jason Line is excited for this weekend’s 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.


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But perhaps the biggest reason the two-time Pro Stock world champion is geared up for the weekend is because of the potential he sees in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Despite a first-round loss a weekend ago, Line was impressed with his qualifying runs and appears poised to return to the performances that led to a win in Pomona in February to kick off the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

"I like Chicago, not just because it was the place where I got my first win with KB Racing – although that doesn't hurt the cause – but also because the track itself is great," Line said. "It's a great facility, and it's a fun place to go. They have great pizza there, too. There are a lot of good reasons to look forward to this race.

"Chicago has been a really good place for us and right now we are definitely headed in the right direction. There is a lot of good thinking going on in our camp, and we aren't satisfied with where we are yet, but everyone on the Summit Racing team is working hard. I feel good about where we're going."

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2. It is the 12th of 24 races during the 2014 season and an event Line always has circled on his calendar.

Line, who is currently fourth in points and has 32 career victories, has posted three wins in Chicago, including his first as a professional in 2004. Two more followed at the state-of-the-art facility in 2005, but Line hasn’t returned to the winner’s circle at Route 66 Raceway since.

But Line could be edging back to his winning ways. Always an incredibly consistent driver – he hasn’t finished outside the top five in points since he became a full-time Pro Stock driver in 2004 – Line has posted round wins at every event this season except the most recent race last weekend in Epping, N.H.

But even there Line was encouraged with the power his Camaro produced in qualifying, something that could carry over into standout runs during night qualifying sessions in Chicago scheduled for both Friday and Saturday.

“As a driver, you're more comfortable in the car once the sun sets, and racing at night is just cool," Line said. "I think the fans enjoy it just as much or even more than we do. A lot of folks work during the day, and this makes it possible for them to come out on Friday after work and see the race. I enjoy the night sessions, and I think it makes perfect sense. It's something a little different. Who doesn't like night qualifying?"

Of course a remarkably talented Pro Stock field, headed by points leader Erica Enders-Stevens, will also get to enjoy racing under the lights, making for what could be two memorable days of qualifying. Line will face off against plenty of championship talent as well, including reigning Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin, who has five victories at Route 66 Raceway, 2012 world champion Allen Johnson, Vincent Nobile, teammate and four-time world champ Greg Anderson, Epping winner Dave Connolly, Shane Gray, two-time runner-up Jonathan Gray and Chris McGaha.

The race also serves as the third in a stretch of four straight race weekends, but Line and his talented team have performed well during the rigorous period, getting solid results without excessive wear and tear on parts.

"Knock on wood, we haven't destroyed a lot of parts, and thankfully we're sponsored by ‘The World's Speed Shop’ so that helps our cause,” Line said. “We have a good back-up arsenal to get us through, and everything has held up really well."

Seven-time Top Fuel world champion and Chicago resident Schumacher won a year ago and has a class-best four victories in Chicago. Schumacher, who also won last weekend in Epping, will be challenged by 2006 Chicago winner and series points leader Doug Kalitta, along with Antron Brown, 2009 event winner Spencer Massey, reigning Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon, Steve Torrence, reigning Auto Club of Southern California Road the Future Award winner Brittany Force, J.R. Todd and Richie Crampton.
Hagan, the 2011 Funny Car world champ, has two wins in Chicago, but is after his first victory in 2014. Other multiple class winners at the track include reigning and 16-time world champ John Force (three wins) and Del Worsham (three wins), while other marquee challengers include one-time Chicago winner Ron Capps, who has the most recent victory in the class, two-time season winner and Epping runner-up Alexis DeJoria, Englishtown winner Cruz Pedregon, Topeka winner Courtney Force, Jack Beckman, Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and current points leader Robert Hight, a four-time winner this season.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Michael Ray is the defending race winner in Chicago and has two No. 1 qualifiers to start this season. Points leader Andrew Hines has two wins at Route 66 Raceway and is on a roll following his recent wins at Charlotte and Englishtown. Defending world champion Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec, John Hall, Hector Arana Jr., breakthrough Epping winner Angie Smith, and Scotty Pollacheck all will tangle for the right to hold the 2014 Chicago Wally in the two-wheel category.

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 enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The race also will showcase the thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as the fan-favorite JEGS All-Stars competition.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, June 27, with sessions at 4:30 and 7:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, June 28, at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 29.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Route 66 Raceway at (888) 629-RACE (7223) or visit www.route66raceway.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

* * *


WHAT: 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, the 12th 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 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill. The track is located 30 miles southwest of Chicago on Route 53 (historic Route 66), approximately three miles south of the I-80 in Joliet. Take I-80 to exit #132A (Route 53 south) to the track.

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, June 26-29

THURSDAY, June 26 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying

FRIDAY, June 27 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:30 and 7:15 p.m.

SATURDAY, June 28 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m.
JEGS ALL-STARS ELIMINATION ROUNDS at 1, 3:15, and 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, June 30 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 28, ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, June 29, ESPN2 will televise three hours of elimination coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET).

SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Friday, June 27, 11 - 11:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 01C
Saturday, June 28, 10:30 - 11 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 01C
Sunday, June 29, 7:30 - 8 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 01C
(3720 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.46147055 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.

2013 EVENT WINNERS: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin, Pro Stock; Michael Ray, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

MOST VICTORIES: Jeg Coughlin, 5, PS; Kenny Bernstein, 4, TF; Tony Schumacher, 4, TF; Tony Pedregon, 4, FC; Larry Dixon, 3, TF; Doug Kalitta, 3, TF; Whit Bazemore, 3, FC; John Force, 3, FC; Del Worsham, 3, FC; Kurt Johnson, 3, PS; Jason Line, 3, PS.

Top Fuel - 3.737 seconds by Morgan Lucas, June ’13; 328.22 mph by Doug Kalitta, June ’13.
Funny Car - 3.988 seconds by Ron Capps, June ’13; 320.28 mph by Capps, June ’13.
Pro Stock - 6.542 seconds by Mike Edwards, June ’13; 210.64 mph by Edwards, June ’13.
PS Motorcycle - 6.884 seconds by Hector Arana Sr., June ’12; 195.68 mph by Michael Phillips, June ’10.

Top Fuel - 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ‘12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.965 sec. by John Force, Feb. ’14, Pomona, Calif.; 324.12 mph by J. Force, Feb. ’14, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock - 6.471 sec. by Mike Edwards, April ‘13, Charlotte, N.C.; 214.69 mph by Erica Enders-Stevens, March. ’14, Gainesville, Fla.
PS Motorcycle - 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.

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