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Line Forgets Foul Ending To 2014; Turns Thoughts To Winternationals

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, February 6 2015

Jason Line got 2014 off to a winning start a year ago. A repeat victory at the Winternationals would be most welcome. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series)

During a telephone interview earlier this week, Jason Line sounded as though he knew exactly what question he was going to be asked first and he had an answer loaded and ready – probably because he had been asked the question more times than he would prefer in recent months.

Thoughts about the last run of the the 2014 season? The one where he red-lighted in his winner-take-championship Pro Stock finale against Erica Enders-Stevens at the same Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. where the 2015 season will kick off this weekend?

No thoughts, he quickly said. Not really.

“To be honest, I haven’t thought about that a whole lot at all,” Line, a two-time Pro Stock champion, said. “You can’t look back. If you look back, you’re going to trip.”

Line also had a surprising answer when asked about his need to get back into his car at this weekend’s NHRA Circle K Winternationals in Pomona.

Not really ready to go yet, he said. Would prefer more time to get things together with his Team Summit, KB Racing Camaro. Like another month’s worth of time.

“But we have a lot to look forward to,” he said, “and these first few races are going to be pretty interesting. The bottom line is that I want to win. We all want to win. It’s a long season, but it starts here. We’ll continue to work as hard as we can, and we’ll hope for the best.”

Surprising response from the man who kicked off the 2014 season by winning the Winternationals a year ago.

And a good season 2014 was for Line. He won four times, was runner-up five other times and he went 49-20 in eliminations. He took the points lead into the Countdown to the Championship playoffs and he sat second in points when the engines were turned over at Pomona last fall – 17 points behind Enders-Stevens.

“It wasn’t a bad year,” Line, who won his Pro Stock championships in 2006 and 2011, said.

Nope. A good year with a bad ending.

Twice during that final Sunday a year ago Line advanced when the driver in the next lane fouled– Jeff Isbell in the first round and Jeg Coughlin in the semifinals.

In the finals, the red light bit Line. Enders-Stevens was awarded the victory and the championship and Line was left to not think about Pomona 2 in 2014. Except, of course, that’s not possible.

“It just didn’t end the way I wanted it to end,” Line said. “But that’s life. That’s racing. I’m not going to cry over it, that’s for sure. There’s no crying in racing. Not for me anyway.”

Line will once again team with former national Driver of the Year Award winner Greg Anderson – who missed the first five races of 2014 because of heart surgery – at KB Racing in 2015.

Also in the stable will be Jimmy Alund, the Swedish driver who took Anderson’s seat early in the season a year ago. Alund will be leasing KB machinery, including the Pontiac which Line drove to his 2011 championship.

“I think we’re on an upswing right now,” Line said of KB Racing and Team Summit. “It’s very hard to stay on top. It’s a tough deal (Pro Stock). You set the bar high and we were part of that the past 12 years. We’ve been right there. Not last year but the year before, I think, was the worst finish I’ve ever had and I finished third. It’s tough to maintain that. It’s a pretty tough task.

“But when you get beat up, it makes you go back and want to work harder. Right now, we’ve got a great group of folks and their very dedicated to getting back to the top.”

A victory this weekend would be Line’s fourth in the prestigious Winternationals. It would be his 36th in 261 career starts. It would be a giant first step back toward the stop.

And it just might put an end to questions about the final seconds of his 2014 season.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, February 6 2015
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