(Photos courtesy NHRA)

2016 NHRA season in review: Pro Stock champion Jason Line

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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

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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

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).