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November 16, 2016

Jason Line

Glendora, California

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Jason Line, driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, and the 2016 Pro Stock world champion.

You claimed your third Pro Stock world title this weekend in Pomona. You finished this season with a career-high eight wins and 14 final-round appearances. You must feel on top of the world.

JASON LINE: I do. That's the first time I heard anybody say, I'm glad I DNQ'ed. Never heard that before (laughter).

Anyway, yeah, I feel great. I actually feel really lousy, but I feel great mentally. It was a great season. I'm glad it's over.

THE MODERATOR: You and teammate Greg Anderson, who finished second right behind you, dominated the redesigned Pro Stock class in its first year. What gave you guys that boost to get off to the hot start you did and maintain that lead over your competition throughout the season?

JASON LINE: You make it sound pretty simple. I don't know if it's quite that easy.

There was times we didn't have much of a lead, especially the second half of the year. How we got off to such a good start, I can't answer that question because I don't know how they did it. We obviously chose to do things in a slightly different manner. I don't know what those differences are.

We knew pretty early on that we had a little bit of a magic there that they didn't. I really still couldn't tell you what or why that is. I'm glad that we found it. Obviously we chose to work in the right areas over the off-season. It was a lot of effort, for sure. It always is. Obviously we worked on the right things, and that made all the difference in the world.

But the second half was very close. We got a little bit better as it went on. Obviously by Pomona, felt like we had a little bit of an advantage. It was a great season. I guess we got tired of losing, for one thing. Just working hard.

THE MODERATOR: You say it wasn't so easy, but you did maintain the points lead at 22 of 24 events on the year, and you notched a career-high 65 round wins to go along with those eight race victories. How do you plan on outdoing yourself next year?

JASON LINE: That's a good question. Yeah, I didn't realize we held the lead for that much of the season. Kind of shocking, actually.

I'm not one to, I guess, bask in the glory of the moment. But it was a fun year. What we're going to do for an encore, I'm not sure.

I can tell you this, we're both at work today. We're trying to get better. We have lots to do. I think we both are well aware of the fact that it's going to be tougher next year. For whatever reason, we caught everybody off guard with the new rules package. We were able to adapt quicker than they were. Now that they've had it for a year, next year's going to be tougher.

It's going to be hard. Doesn't mean we can't do it. I think we can. As great as this year was, it was still only our second best year in the history of our shop. So we've actually had a better year.

I think it is possible to do what we did this year again.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jason Line.

Q. Jason, if you look back at this season, short of actually getting that trophy, what was the most incredible moment in your season?
JASON LINE: I think for me probably the highlight of my season -- let me think about that for a second -- probably Pomona, the first Pomona. When Greg and I both made the final round, I remember sitting there waiting to get interviewed, which is not my favorite thing, but waiting to get interviewed, thinking to myself that we actually had something that nobody else did. It was a really nice feeling.

Even though you don't know how long it's going to last, I guess for me I was very proud that we worked on the right things over the winter. That was a highlight. I knew we were going to have a special year at that point.

Q. Ron Capps made a comment about how fans of the NASCAR world and sponsors and everything in the NASCAR world have reached out. Have any of your friends from the world of NASCAR reached out to you since you won the title?
JASON LINE: Absolutely, yep. Several more today actually. All the engine guys that work in Cup, I would say that I'm friends with a lot of them. They love the naturally aspirated engines, they love Pro Stock.

Yeah, I've heard from a bunch of them. It's nice. It makes you feel good. It's a good feeling. For me it's a good feeling knowing I have a lot of folks that really support me. I feel good about that.

Q. Jason, a year ago at this time when you and Greg were just starting to work on the new rules package, did you guys see it as a blank sheet where you might be able to capitalize, or was it like this is a huge monetary mechanical thrash we have to face here? How did you approach it?
JASON LINE: I'm going to say the latter of the two. Like I said before, it's not a secret, we did not embrace it at all. We did it because we had to. It's what we do for a living.

Honestly, I think not only did we not think at that time that we could do what we did this year, I'm pretty sure that our competitors didn't either. In fact, I just happened to read, one of our guys drug it up, one of our competitors said they wouldn't be surprised if they won every single race. I think that was a good motivator actually, if we all thought about it. I never would have made a bold statement like that. I would have said we'd have been lucky if we won anything because we didn't know.

The unknown is what kills you. We knew nothing about fuel injection. The truth is, we're still in its infancy with us. We have a long ways to go, a lot to learn. The gains will be smaller at this point, but there's still gains to be made. Obviously, from a monetary standpoint, it is going to be very expensive. We absolutely have to keep going forward and learning more.

It never ends. As long as you believe it never ends, it never does. There's more to gain.

Q. Jason, obviously you're good friends with Greg, you're teammates. From a psychological or mental standpoint, whatever you want to call it, how do you disavow or dissociate yourself as a teammate and a friend when it comes down to crunch time to win a championship? I know you both were pulling for each other, but at the same time you're certainly pulling for yourself. How do you do that?
JASON LINE: I don't know that you can. It's a strange dynamic, to say the least. I don't know if we were pulling for each other or not.

Obviously the selfish side of you wants to win. Make no mistake about it, racers are selfish folks. You have to be somewhat in order to win. It's just kind of the nature of the sport.

It's tough. We've been together for 14 years, which I think has got to be some kind of record. Usually it's very difficult. We all have big egos. It's very difficult to survive that, especially racing each other, knowing that really the person who stopped you from winning more this year is also somebody who helped you win as much as you did.

It's hard to take an objective look at it. At some point it's difficult to separate heart from head. It's a tough deal. I think we handle it better now than we did 10 years ago. There was no fighting. We didn't come to blows or anything. There were no foul words said at all. We both realize at this point that it is bigger than just the two of us. It's important that we win as a group.

That being said, it's still hard. Each one of us wants to win. I know he's disappointed, as I would have been, as well.

Q. There was so much made coming into the 2016 season about Erica Enders, two championships in a row, then Coughlin coming in full-time, switched to Dodge and Mopar. To see them go from as strong as they were the previous two seasons to such a trying season in 2016, from a competitor's standpoint, can you empathize with them? How surprised were you at their lack of success this year?
JASON LINE: I can certainly empathize. It's not easy, especially when both those two are used to being up near the top. Erica has certainly had more bad times than him. Yeah, it's tough to take.

Winning masks a lot of issues. When you're not doing well, it tends to bring out either the best or the worst in you. I'm sure they had a lot of very trying moments over that. I don't know. Tried not to pay attention to it, worry about our own deal. But tough deal, there's no question about it.

Q. You had a pretty big lead heading into the Countdown. With the points resetting and some competitors nipping at your heels, did you ever get nervous and think, Now we really got to turn it on, can't let up?
JASON LINE: I don't know about nervous. But yeah, I mean, I think we definitely felt that way. After Chicago, really after Norwalk, we started to test some different things. I tested a lot of different stuff in the next few races. It certainly cost me from winning some races that I could have, should have won in there that I didn't.

I was willing to go backwards for a little bit to make sure that when the end of the year came around that we really had exhausted all of our resources for the pieces and parts we had available at the time, so we had the best stuff come Countdown time.

We did kind of a lousy job qualifying. You know, it was not easy. I know it probably looked easy on the outside. There were still some moments there where we didn't do a very good job. Probably shouldn't have been as close as it was. I made a few mistakes, was fortunate enough to have it work out still.

I don't know about nervous, but yes, certainly aware of how close the competition was.

Q. Are you going to continue riding this wave or do you have any big changes planned between now and Winter Nationals?
JASON LINE: Yes, we have a lot of changes. I'm going to say very ambitious tests planned over the winter. That being said, there's no guarantees. I do feel like what we have right now, come Pomona, it's going to be obsolete. Got high hopes again for next year. Again, there's no guarantees, but we have a lot of new stuff in the works.

Q. I know the Summit team has things planned overseas for the troops. What are you going to be doing out there?
JASON LINE: I think perhaps Thanksgiving we're leaving, us and Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines as well. We'll be going again to Kuwait this year. I'm not sure where else, but other places in the region.

We'll have a busy schedule, I can tell you that. It's fun. It's tiring. It's very rewarding. Makes you appreciate a lot of things.

Q. Talk about the competition in the Pro Stock class. You guys got off to a very hot start, but the competition caught on to some of the things you were doing. What do you think we can expect from the class next year?
JASON LINE: There's no question we're all going to be faster next year. It really comes down to the same things it comes down to every winter. Ours is different than the field classes. We have much more latitude to work on certain things. I think there's no question the field is absolutely going to be faster next year. How much, I don't know. I still think it's going to take us a couple years to get back to where we were with the no rpm rule and the carburetor rule, but really much closer next year.

THE MODERATOR: Good luck. Enjoy your championship reign. We'll see you in Pomona in February.

JASON LINE: Thanks very much. Thanks for having me on.

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