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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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Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.