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September 3, 2014

Jason Line

THE MODERATOR:¬† Next up we have Jason Line, driver of Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro.¬† Line is a four‑time winner this season.¬† He has two runner‑up finishes and four semifinal round appearances.¬† He's raced to the No. 1 qualifying position once this year and has won 36 rounds of racing.¬† And he's a two‑time Pro Stock World Champion.¬†
Jason, we'll start this with everybody, but kind of what's your thoughts going into the Countdown as the No. 1 contender, especially with a strong back half of the season you've had so far? 
JASON LINE:  I think I'm starting in a pretty darned good spot.  So obviously month and a half ago I was going to be happy if I was in the top 5.  So the last month has been pretty darned good to me.  So we definitely got our Chevy Camaro running a lot better.  And it feels really good.
I don't know if I've entered the Countdown No. 1 before, I'm not sure if I have or not.  But there's no better place to start.

Q.¬† Jason, you kind of mentioned it having like a strong finish running into the Countdown.¬† Can you talk about‑‑ that's the kind of momentum just about everybody really wants to get.¬† Could you talk a little bit about that, how that feels for you and your team?
JASON LINE:  Yeah, that's the kind of thing you only dream of.  So it's a hard thing to achieve.  And it's fun to watch when you see a team get a car and a driver in sync. 
And it's a hard thing to achieve.¬† But it's fun to watch when somebody does, even if it's not you, because it's just‑‑ it's a pretty rare thing.¬† And right now it feels really good.¬† This is the best stretch I've probably ever had.¬† So it gives me certainly a lot of confidence.¬† We have great guys and we have direction right now, which is something we lacked for quite a while.
So I think once you have direction, you know we're all smart enough to carry on and go forward.  So it feels really good right now.

Q.  And what was it like to get Greg back after his physical problems to get him back in a car?
JASON LINE:¬† Well, it was a little scary at first, actually, for me anyway.¬† But it's been a crazy year with all the stuff that's went on especially with his health‑wise, as you get older you start to realize you're not going to live forever.
At the same time it's been a big motivator for me because I realize that I may not have forever to do this.  So I'm trying to make the best of the resources that I have and trying to really make it count. 
But disappointing obviously not getting Greg into the Countdown.  That's our own fault.  We didn't do a good enough job there.  But it was sort of a long shot anyway.  But we gave it a good effort.  Just didn't come out good enough.

Q.  Jason, you touched upon that.  What is kind of Greg's mindset now going into these final six races in a position that he's probably never been in before?
JASON LINE:  Well, he's not standing on the roof right now.  So he's really focused, I think, on trying to help me win the championship, which means help our team win the championship. 
So there's no question about it, we're all back at the shop Tuesday morning and back at work trying to make things better and understand where we went wrong.  So his goal is the same as mine would be, trying to help our team win the championship.

Q.¬† The last few years it seems that Pro Stock has just been unbelievably level playing field competitive‑wise.¬† What is it that makes this class so competitive and the parity between manufacturers so close?
JASON LINE:  It stinks, doesn't it?  (Chuckling).  We're doing everything we can to try to stop that.  But it's just really hard.  You have a fairly tight box to work in. 
And there's only so many roads to go down and eventually you all end up in the same place.  And that's kind of where we're at now.  And devil's in the details.  To try to separate yourself, it's difficult.  So we're working hard on that, and I still believe we can separate ourselves a little bit.  We showed moments of that at Indy this year.  And my car has been very good the last four races here.  And there's more to come and I hope we can put a little distance between ourselves and everyone else.

Q.  You talked about the last four races and how good your car has been.  What did you find that has really stepped it up?  Was it setup, engine, or a combination of both?
JASON LINE:  I can't really tell you because you'll tell everybody else.  It's never one thing.  It's certainly a combination of things.  But obviously the engine being the most accurate piece on the car is certainly the most important thing. 
It's definitely a combination of everything.¬† But we just, like I said earlier, we have direction now.¬† We didn't have that‑‑ kind of went around in circles.¬† And now we've got good direction.¬† So it's all going forward and I really feel like we're going to get stronger as the Countdown progresses.

Q.  Down here in Texas, I'm just wondering, when you all get here, is there any special challenges that the track here presents that you don't face anywhere else on the circuit?
JASON LINE:  Crickets.  A lot of crickets there.  That's what we blamed on our starting line malfunction last year.  But Gabrielle and the crew down there, they've done a nice job.  They've made some improvements to the burnout box last year which we appreciated.  We like coming to Texas.  It's been a good racetrack for KB Racing and Summit.  And I look forward to coming there.

Q.  We start off the Countdown in Charlotte, which has become your guys' home away from home for Minnesota natives of you and Greg.  But does kicking off in Charlotte give you that little bit of extra confidence at a track that you guys are very familiar with?
JASON LINE:  I don't know about that so much.  But for me what it does it means an extra couple of days of work.  So I think it's really it's an advantage to start here because I can work all through Thursday, and if I need to do something in the evening I can come back and work on something. 
So it is an advantage.  And it's also pretty darned nice to be able to sleep in your own bed at night.  That helps the brain a little bit.  So I look forward to the Charlotte races and certainly look forward to this one. 

Q.¬† Can you comment a bit about the season Erica Ender‑Stevens has put together?¬† She's really ramped it up this year.¬† And right behind you as far as points.¬†
JASON LINE:  They've got a great team, obviously.  Obviously if they hadn't skipped the two races, there's a really good chance you'd be talking to her right now and not me. 
So they've got a great team.  And I said it before, I'll say it again, I'm glad I didn't take Richard Freeman's advice and skip two of them.  So it's worked out good for us.
But she does have a great race car right now.¬† She's a great driver.¬† She's certainly going to be tough to beat.¬† I think there's no clear‑cut I guess leader as far as who is going to have the best chance to win the championship.¬† It's going to be a tough grind right to the end.

Q.  I'm assuming you're putting Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin in that group, too, right?
JASON LINE:  Absolutely, definitely.  Allen is tough.  And Jeg's always tough.  They've got great power as well.  Certainly can't forget about Connolly.  He's tough and Vincent Nobile.  They're all tough.  That's going to be a tough road.  But that's what makes it satisfying when you win.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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