There is nothing quite like home field advantage.
With friends and family looking on, Jason Line, who hails from nearby Wright, Minnesota, placed his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro in the No. 1 spot on Saturday at the 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, his second pole position of the season.
While all successes are to be celebrated, there is nothing quite like proving the best at a facility just down the road from where you grew up. A fact that made Line’s green hat celebration on Saturday just a bit sweeter.
“I say there isn’t any (added pressure), but I suppose there is,” Line said. “I would just like to win here in Pro Stock. It would be fun. It would be good for my friends and family and for all of us – something we can enjoy together. That is a rare thing in our sport, so it would be good to do it this weekend.”
Line’s 6.606-second pass at 207.27 mph from Friday evening held up on day two as he earned his second No. 1 of the season and the 55th of his career. While he wasn’t able to better his numbers on Saturday, Line was still quickest in both sessions on day two in Brainerd, giving him a clean sweep as the quickest car in all four sessions and the 12 bonus points that go along with it.
“My car is really good. It is certainly the best car that I have had in years,” a confident Line said. “We’ve made four really good runs and that is not always easy to do. There are a lot of good cars, but being able to have the quickest car in four sessions in today’s Pro Stock is no small feat. The car is very predictable and doing what we ask it to do.
“It happens sometimes, you go to a place and for whatever reason, the car will be super happy. Mine is very happy here and that is a good feeling.”
Erica Enders, who joins Line in the winless category this season, qualified second with a 6.616 at 206.99 mph. Line’s teammate Bo Butner qualified third with a 6.624 at 207.08 mph. Deric Kramer (6.627) and Jeg Coughlin (6.627) rounded out the top five.
While heat and humidity were a hurdle on Saturday, Line welcomed the race-like conditions and was able to use the afternoon as a test session to prepare the car for race conditions on Sunday as he seeks his first Wally since October.
“The weather was the same for everybody, and it wasn’t really that bad. If you are from North Carolina, it is really not that bad at all,” Line said. “This morning we probably could have ran a 6.60 again, but that last run we used as a test run for tomorrow. So the fact that we were still low on that run is a good thing.”
While Brainerd is at the top of Line’s list of favorite tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar, it is a facility that has largely eluded the three-time champion. He is credited with the win at this race way back in 2014, but in that race Line reached the semifinals before rain forced the remainder of the event to be finished in Indianapolis.
While he has a trophy that says he is an event winner here, he has yet to do just that in front of his hometown fans, something he hopes to change this weekend.
Line will get Wally Stroupe in round one on Sunday.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019