(Photos courtesy NHRA)

2016 NHRA season in review: Pro Stock champion Jason Line

1 Comment

Over the next three-plus weeks, MotorSportsTalk will feature season-ending reviews of the top drivers of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Each day, we’ll have one in-depth review of a driver that finished in the top-five in each of the four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as a compendium of select other drivers that did not finish in the top-five.

We began the series Monday with Antron Brown and Tuesday with Ron Capps.

Today we feature 2016 Pro Stock champion Jason Line




Driver: Jason Line

Age: 47

Hometown: Wright, Minnesota

Team: KB Racing

Sponsor/car: Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro

Crew chief: Rob Downing/Tim Freeman

2016 season finish: First in Pro Stock.

2016 season statistics: 24 races, 8 wins, 6 runner-up, 7 semifinals, 2 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier eight times. Round-by-round record: 65 wins, 16 losses. Earned third career NHRA Pro Stock championship.

Career statistics (includes both Pro Stock and Sportsman ranks): 308 races, 47 wins (45 Pro Stock, 2 Sportsman), 47 runner-up (47 PS, 0 Sportsman), 64 semifinals, 78 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier 49 times. Round-by-round record: 525 wins, 262 losses. 1 DNQ. Three career Pro Stock championships (2006, 2011 and 2016).

What went right in 2016: Won a single-season career-high eight races. … Line and teammate (and four-time champion) Greg Anderson were virtually unstoppable through the season, particularly during the first 2/3 of the campaign. It was neck-and-neck for Line and Anderson until Line pulled away to take the championship by a mere three points, even though he lost in the final round of the final race to Anderson. … Line and Anderson completely overwhelmed 2014 and 2015 champion Erica Enders. Enders won six races in 2014 and 2015, but failed to win even one in 2016 due mainly to the domination of KB Racing’s Line and Anderson.

What went wrong in 2016: Very, very little. Line was the most consistent driver across all four major professional series. He suffered just one first-round exit. Everything else was quarterfinals or higher, including 21 finishes as either a winner, runner-up or semifinalist.

What to look for in 2017: It was a tough back-and-forth battle between Line and Anderson in 2016, and 2017 promises nothing less. Anderson left 2016 with a bad taste in his mouth because he gave it his all to win a fifth Pro Stock championship, yet came up just a little bit short. As close as 2016 was between the two teammates, 2017 could be even closer.

Season reviews already posted:

— Antron Brown (12/12)

— Ron Capps (12/13)

— Jason Line (12/14)

Jerry Savoie (12/15)

Doug Kalitta (12/16)

Tommy Johnson Jr. (12/17)

Greg Anderson (12/18)

Eddie Krawiec (12/19)

Steve Torrence (12/20)

— Matt Hagan (12/21)

— Shane Gray (12/22)

— Andrew Hines (12/23)

— J.R. Todd (12/24)

— John Force (12/25)

— Bo Butner (12/26)

— Angelle Sampey (12/27)

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
Leave a comment

Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

Follow @JerryBonkowski