As the fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals nears, the best drag racers in the world will converge on zMAX Dragway, Sept. 15-18, to do battle in classic side-by-side racing. The event will mark the first race in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship and Troutman, N.C., resident Jason Line is optimistic about his goal of capturing the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock title.

Line has had a successful 2011 season thus far, with four victories and three No.1 qualifying performances. zMAX Dragway has traditionally been a track where he has been successful, claiming the No. 1 qualifying position for the past two NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events held at the track.

Line recently paid a visit to zMAX Dragway and took a few moments to answer questions regarding the upcoming O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.

How important is it once the countdown begins to get off to a good start in the Countdown to the Championship?

Line:  It’s huge; it’s a big deal, with the countdown format the way it is, if you have a bad race it’s tough to recover. Our goal is to win every race in the countdown and there will be no question about it after that. So it’s a big deal. 

You have had a great year so far with four wins, and your teammate, Greg Anderson, has been having a great year as well. Talk about the in-camp rivalry, knowing that he could be the guy right beside you in the pits that you have to beat on the track.

Line:  It’s a great thing actually and I hope when it comes down to Pomona, [Calif.] at the end of the Countdown to the Championship, it’s him [Anderson] and I in the final round and whoever wins, wins the championship. It’s the way it should be.  The fact that it is him gives me a little bit of fear and a lot of pride, because we put a lot of effort into making our Summit Racing Equipment cars run good. It’s a big deal and I really hope it comes down to the last round at Pomona to decide the Championship.

 

Coming back to your home track, zMAX Dragway, you have had a lot of success including being the number one qualifier the last two events here and making it to the final round in one of them. What is it about this concrete quarter-mile that seems to suit you?

Line: There really is nothing not to love about this place. Bruton Smith has built a beautiful facility for us to race at. The only thing I do not like about it so far is that I have not been able to win here. We are going to change that this fall. We have been a good qualifier here, just not a good racer. This fall we are going to fix that, we are going to win here!

Pro Stock is the most competitive division in the professional categories, many would say. Every Sunday morning when you think about your competition what goes through your head?

Line: Different things motivate different people and fear motivates me; I like to eat and I like my job. I try to do the best I can. It is tough, it’s a very competitive class. There are a lot of good cars out there and anybody can win on any given day. Our job is to try and stop them from doing that. I don’t enjoy winning that much, but I really don’t like losing. It’s a hard thing but we are getting better at it. I feel like we have a great shot at winning here in the fall.

Going into the Countdown, does your approach change at all and if not, how important is it to remain focused on what you are doing?

Line: No, the fact that we have led the points most of the year I think it would be foolish to change our approach right now. We are going to keep doing the things that got us here.  We are just going to try to win every race and if that happens obviously there will be no question. We are most likely going to stick with that same strategy and just keep digging and hope we come up with enough.

Qualifying under the lights is always a fan favorite. From a driver’s perspective, is there anything that changes in the cockpit for you?

Line: Yes, it is a little bit different for sure. It’s cool to look out and see all the lights and all of the fans, it’s a cool thing. I enjoy racing at night. We do not get to do it that often but I do enjoy it.

How cool is it for the fans to come out here and see the flames coming out of the headers and see these cars glisten under the lights for your night qualifying session?

Line: I would like to race at night all the time, which is when drag racing is at its best. If every race was a night race I would be happy. It is the best time for sure, it’s cool out. Fans love it and so do the drivers.

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the Bellagio of drag strips for the fourth annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15 - 18. The best drag racers in the world will compete head-to-head in the first event of the series' Countdown to the Championship.

In honor of the NHRA’s 60th anniversary, fans can purchase two tickets to any day of the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals for a total of only $60 and receive a choice of a free upgrade: two 60th anniversary hats; two 60th anniversary shirts; two beer vouchers; or two Coca-Cola soft drinks and two hot dogs. 

Tickets for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.zMAXDragway.com.

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway.