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NHRA: 3-time Pro Stock champ Jason Line to retire after 2020 season

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Veteran NHRA drag racer and three-time Pro Stock champion Jason Line surprised the drag racing community Wednesday, announcing the 2020 season will be his last as a driver.

Line is calling his final season before retiring the “Finish Line Tour.” NHRA’s National Dragster broke the news Wednesday morning.

The upcoming season will hold significant meaning to Line for 50 reasons, so to speak:

* This is the 50th anniversary of the Pro Stock class in NHRA competition.

* Line turned 50 years old last July.

* Line has amassed 50 national event wins in his Pro Stock career, his most recent triumph coming last season to kick off the six-race 2019 NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The timing – and numbers – just seemed to be right for Line, who drives for Ken Black Racing (KB Racing) and pilots the Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro — to call it quits.

Pro Stock driver Jason Line in action during the 2019 season. Photo: NHRA

However, Line made it very clear in comments to National Dragster that while he will be stepping away from behind the wheel, he will not be stepping away from the sport.

According to National Dragster, Line intends to continue working for Mooresville, North Carolina-based KB Racing, building and tuning Pro Stock and Sportsman class race motors for the team and its customers.

After a stint at Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR operation as chief dynamometer engine specialist beginning in 1998, Line joined KB Racing in 2003 in a similar role during the week and as a Pro Stock racer on the weekends.

“It’s been a good run, and I’ve really enjoyed driving a Pro Stock car for Ken Black and Summit Racing,” Line told National Dragster. “I’m not leaving Pro Stock — I’m just going to be working for wins for KB Racing from a different kind of seat.”

Line won Pro Stock championships in 2006, 2011 and 2016. He finished fourth last season. Line also won the 1993 Stock Eliminator sportsman class national championship before turning pro in 2003 and went on to win Pro Stock rookie of the year and earn his first of his eventual 50 national event wins in 2004.

“I’m very grateful to (teammate and four-time Pro Stock champ) Greg Anderson and (KB Racing team owners) Ken and Judy Black for giving me the opportunity to drive for so long for the best team in drag racing,” Line told National Dragster. “Driving a Pro Stock car was for sure a dream of mine as a kid, and winning a Pro Stock championship was something you always hope you’ll achieve but never really imagine will happen.

“I love this class, and it has been a privilege and an honor to be part of it for so long and be able to do so well.”

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Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

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