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NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE
May 25, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Jason, thank you for taking time out of your day to join us.
JASON LINE: No problem.
THE MODERATOR: Jason is the driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro in the Pro Stock category. He and his team have had a tremendous start to the season with Line racing to the final at each of the first eight events this season. Jason has recorded five victories and three runner-up victories. He also has three No. 1 qualifying positions this year.
Jason, we've talked to you and Greg a lot this year about the success. After every weekend, do you still kind of look back not in wonderment but think, Man, I can't believe this just happened again?
JASON LINE: Well, to be honest, I hadn't given it a whole lot of thought. After the last two races, I started to think about it a little bit more. Obviously it's an incredible run for our team and for me personally. I've never had a start like this, obviously, which I guess not many folks have.
It's one of those things where I'm starting to think about it a little bit. But the truth is, you know, at this point it doesn't matter. It's what's coming up next. So we're working hard. I stopped making dyno pulls so we could have this conversation. We never stop burning Sunoco. We have to find more power. They're getting closer. That's kind of how we look at it.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned not many people have done that. Looking ahead to Epping, if you were to make it to the final, you would tie Bob Glidden and the late Lee Shepherd for the most consecutive finals to start a season, which is nine. Could you put into words what it would mean to be put into such an elite group with those two drivers?
JASON LINE: No, not really. Actually, I'm quite sure my name doesn't belong being mentioned with those two. It would be cool. I would be lying if I said it wasn't.
I don't know. It takes a lot of good fortune. Just the fact to go up there and make that many runs and not shake or have a mechanical failure, just something go wrong, that in itself is kind of phenomenal.
Whatever. If it happens, it happens. That's great. If it doesn't, that's great, too. Been a heck of a good run. Either way, I won't be upset.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Jason.
Q. Jason, I'd have to take issue you on 'good fortune'. I would say more like good preparation to be where you're at.
JASON LINE: Well, there's no doubt there's been good preparation. But no matter what you do, sometimes there are still things you just can't control.
The fact that we haven't had some sort of failure, some sort of issues, to me it's phenomenal. Again, it just doesn't happen. It's very rare.
Q. Do you ever get done with the dyno pull and walk out in the shop and ask Greg to punch you to make sure you're not asleep and dreaming all of this?
JASON LINE: No. He punches me anyway (laughter). I think he wanted to punch me last weekend after the final.
No, you know, right now him and I are working on the dyno at the moment. He's swapping parts out right now while I'm on the phone.
It's been a heck of a start. I chuckled a couple times because people have brought up the fact that we are the ones who complained the most about the new rules package and the rules changes, and it would appear that we've benefited the most.
I don't know. Like I say, we didn't ask for this change, but we've tried to embrace it the best we could. Obviously we've been very fortunate to come out as successful as we have been. Anyway, we're working hard and trying to make both Summit Chevy Camaros faster.
Q. You've had one heck of a run so far. Good luck moving on.
JASON LINE: Thank you. It's been a lot of fun, probably the most fun I've ever had racing. I've enjoyed it.
THE MODERATOR: Jason, talk about Bo Butner. What has it meant to you guys to be able to have his expertise? He was an accomplished racer coming in, but to be able to have his experience and gather data with the new rules changes that came into the season.
JASON LINE: Well, for me, Bo, he's a breath of fresh air because he's always happy. The guy's always in a good mood. No matter how bad or good things are going, he's able to smile. So for me, that's been good.
Greg and I, a lot of times we're pretty serious. Of course, the rest of our guys are serious. Sometimes you forget this is really about having fun. Yes, it is what we do for a living so we're obligated to be serious about it, but at the same time you still should be able to have fun.
For me, he brings an entertainment value that you cannot buy. I enjoy the heck out of him. He's a good fella. He's fun to be around.
Q. The next four races take you to different levels of sea level. Which one do you think is going to be the most demanding in your effort to tie the record and possibly break the record?
JASON LINE: Well, obviously Epping first because unless you win there, nothing matters, or make it to the final there.
Epping, I have not been very successful at Epping. It has not been a good track for me, much like Topeka, which is my new favorite track, by the way.
First things first. I have to do a good job there. The starting line at Epping is not amongst the Pro Stock ranks, it's not known to be the best starting line you're ever going to see. Right now that's probably a good thing for us. We seem to excel when we're on, I guess, a starting line that doesn't have quite as much grip.
Epping is going to be a big challenge for sure. Obviously after that, it doesn't matter. If we can make the final round there, that would be nothing short of phenomenal.
Q. Your teammate, Greg Anderson, has everything that you have. Is he your biggest challenge towards setting the goal?
JASON LINE: I'm going to say yes because he's the only guy I've lost to so far. I mean, it sounds crazy saying that, but he is the only person I've lost to this year. I'm going to say yes, that's true.
But obviously other teams, they're all getting better every week. I mean, just like us, if the shoe was on the other foot, we'd be working hard to get better. You don't want to get beat up that many races in a row. Let me tell you, they're working hard. There's going to be other challenges besides Greg, there's no doubt. But right now he's tough.
Plus, I mean, he's one of the best that's ever been. So you don't look forward to racing him. But if we can qualify opposite sides, obviously not racing him till the final, that's the best alternative.
Q. You made the statement, They're working hard. Is this the hardest your teams have ever had to work, not only to gain the values they gained, but to stay on top at the same time?
JASON LINE: I think so, yes. At least for quite a while. Again, with the new rules package, everything is kind of reset. Obviously it's a heck of an opportunity there to set yourself apart. It won't last, there's no question about it. It will not last.
But, again, having the opportunity to do it for a while is a great thing. That's why we're on the phone right now. All you can do is keep digging. We worked very hard this winter, no question about it. I don't know that we worked harder than anybody else, but we worked very hard. We were fortunate enough to apparently work on the right things.
But to stay on top, which again, make no mistake about it, somebody will come along and be faster. But to stay where we're at for as long as we can, it's going to require more effort yet.
So we're doing that. We're working as hard as we know how to.
THE MODERATOR: Jason, this is one of your most successful starts to the season. Most final rounds you had in a season is nine in 2014. Unfortunately you came up a little bit short, narrowly lost the championship. Can you look towards the championship run yet? Can you look towards the Countdown at all, or is it just one after the next?
JASON LINE: Yeah, I think right now it's too far out for me. I try to think on a one-day basis, then a one week, then a month, and then six months. But right now that's a ways out, and I think there's so much to do yet that that's too far out for me right now.
Obviously no matter what, we're going to get a good start in the Countdown. But we need to have something, something left for the time the Countdown starts, maybe a little extra shot in the arm so that we have an advantage at that time.
But there's no telling. We don't know what other people are going to come up with between now and then. It's way too far apart, and again I think it's too fertile of a field yet to say that you're going to go into the Countdown with an advantage because there's still a lot of opportunity, a lot of things to learn yet about the fuel injection and how it runs the cars. So who knows, we could -- by the time the Countdown comes along, there could be two or three cars that are as fast or faster than us. I just don't know the answer to that.
But that's why you've just got to keep working.
Q. You obviously need a little time off, a little time away from the track to kind of regroup and let everybody refresh, but when you're having such a great run like this, do you just want to keep going from event to event to event, which you will get the chance to do once you start Epping?
JASON LINE: No. No. I like some time. I've got other projects and other things going on, and we work on some super stock and stocker stuff here, as well, and those hold a special place in my heart. I'm still trying to work on some of that stuff. So I think working on the same thing all the time kind of -- it can get mundane. So when you look at new things, there's always something to learn from some other class.
I enjoy working on other things, as well, and I'm doing that, you know, in my off time as you call it. I guess it doesn't really make it off time, but it's time looking at something different.
I do like a little break in between.
Q. You obviously have a background in NASCAR, coming from Gibbs. Are you able to take -- we talked with Courtney, obviously this is a big racing weekend, Indianapolis 500, the 600. Are you able to take in anything at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend?
JASON LINE: Well, my wife is trying to get me to it and I'm trying to get out of it. I don't think I'm going to -- I don't think I'm going to partake. Again, I have a lot of stuff going on here at the shop that I need to get done while I can, because again, we're going to be gone a lot in the next four weeks. I think right now that's more important to help us stay on top here than it is going to watch some other venue.
I'm going to stay -- kind of keep my nose to the grindstone and stay here at work.
Q. Just real quick, what is it like with Greg being there in the shop with you guys? Are you guys just a good resource for each other to bounce ideas off of? You talk about being in the dyno room. Are you guys there 9:00 to 5:00, 9:00 to 9:00, 16 hours a day? How much of a resource are you two with each other?
JASON LINE: Right now it's more like 8:00 to 6:00 and maybe a little later, so it depends. Well, he's a very motivated guy, let me tell you. You're going to have to find somebody -- it would be hard to find somebody who works harder than him, I can tell you that. He's definitely a go-getter, and he does not enjoy finishing second. He doesn't like that at all, and he's made several comments, today alone, that we have his engine apart that he raced last week and the one I raced, and he was looking for -- his word, he's looking for nine thousandths, because that's what he lost by last week.
He's a very motivated guy, and again, I've said it before, I've never met anybody who wants to win as bad as him. He's very motivated, and to beat him, let me tell you, it's an accomplishment because he's tough. He's a tough racer.
Q. Jason, based on what you said, I can understand you don't want to go to the Coca-Cola 600. I can understand maybe you don't want to go to Indianapolis for the 100th Indy 500. What do you do to relax and to just blow off all your steam?
JASON LINE: That's a good question. I'm not a good relaxer. I struggle with that. I'm actually -- my weekend is planned already. I have a lot of work to do, but I am going to have dinner with some of the folks from Coca-Cola Company on Friday night. That's going to be my relaxation for the weekend. Beyond that, the truth is I'll be working on a little bit of Stock Eliminator stuff and then Pro Stock stuff.
It's really -- it's probably a sad thing to say, but I enjoy doing that as much or more than anything. I really like working on stuff.
That's my idea of relaxing, I guess.
Q. Now, when you go with Coca-Cola, will you meet Chase Elliott or someone else along that line in that time?
JASON LINE: No. No, sure won't.
Q. They're going to hide you completely, huh?
JASON LINE: Well, I'm just going with one of the Coke execs, and we're going to go have a nice dinner on Friday night. That's really -- no PR stuff involved, just a nice, friendly dinner.
Q. You touched upon the championship. Do you guys start getting into test mode for the Countdown, or how does that kind of play in like during qualifying sessions?
JASON LINE: Well, we are testing some things during qualifying for sure, but no, I would say we're not in any sort of test mode. But again, I think the way we're running the cars and the engines is still -- there's still a lot to learn about what we're doing. I don't feel like we're living up to the potential of -- as much power as the engine makes right now, I still know we're going as fast as we can go. So we're testing, but we're definitely not in test mode, that's for sure. We're trying to win races, and that's what keeps us in business.
Q. One of the races that we go to is in Norwalk, which is obviously a big one for you and Summit Racing. Is that always a busy kind of a week for you guys?
JASON LINE: It is. And that's a fun week for us. For me it's one of those races close enough I like to drive instead of fly, and we go up early and visit with the Summit folks, so it's a fun race for us for sure, plus you get the ice cream, so it's a great race. I love going up there. It's certainly one of my -- it's one of my favorite races to go to.
Q. How much does the Bader family with what they can do for a facility and welcoming, as a racer what is that like when you pull into a facility and maybe even take Summit out of it, but with that Bader family and with their presence?
JASON LINE: Well, they definitely know how to put on a show. I think it's cool. My kids love it, and there's a little bit of something for everybody. They're great promoters and great ambassadors for the sport of drag racing. They do unique things there, and that makes it memorable and fun to be a part of.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and let you hop off. Thank you for giving us a call today.
JASON LINE: You're welcome, and thanks for having me on.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports