CONCORD, N.C. — Jason Line (Pro Stock Car) and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the kings of the Pro Stock classes in Sunday’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, opening the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs with victories in their respective divisions.
Line won in the final round to extend his series points lead, making a pass of 6.621 seconds at 209.39 mph to beat KB Racing teammate and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson, who had a losing run of 6.639 at 209.20.
The win was Line’s eighth of the season and 45th of his career. He trumped Shane Tucker, Bo Butner and Vincent Nobile along his road to the final.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re dominating, but we happened to win today,” said Line, who now holds a 50-point advantage in the standings. “This car was bad to the bone all meet and I did a good job of not messing it up for us. It’s great to win in front of all of our guys from the shop, because this is like a home race for us, and we’re hoping to push this even further into the Countdown and hunt that championship.”
“If you want to win the title, you’ve just got to come out smoking. To race Greg in the final is a great thing. It’s good, but it’s bad because he’s the last guy you want to see over there in the final. He gets the best of me most of the time, but today was my day.”
Despite his loss, Anderson remained second in the points standings after beating Alex Prusiensky, Chris McGaha and Alex Laughlin to run for the Wally.
Meanwhile, Chip Ellis took a stunning victory over points leader Andrew Hines, running a 6.879 at 194.88 mph to beat Hines’ losing 6.908 at 193.49.
The win was Ellis’ first victory in eight years, with his last Wally coming at Englishtown, N.J. in 2008. He beat out Shawn Gann, L.E. Tonglet and three-time PSM champion Angelle Sampey to make it to the final round.
“We’re here for Mr. Junior Pippin (team owner) and that’s why this is such an emotional and important day for us,” Ellis said. “He’s been trying really really hard to win one of these things and I’m proud to be a part of it and bring a trophy back to Conyers, Georgia for him.”
“This is the most important win of my career. It’s an amazing deal for Junior and me and everyone involved in this operation.”
Ellis did, however, describe an ace in the hole that he felt made a difference and smiled widely about in the post-race press conference.
“When you have a daughter that’s 14 and you want to spend a lot of time with her, it’s tough sometimes to be in the shop putting in so much time on the bike as well,” he admitted. “But she was here with me this weekend and servicing the clutch every round, and I’m telling you, every time she comes to a race and services the clutch on that motorcycle … we go rounds, so Kenzie, you’re not going to school any more.”
Hines defeated Melissa Surber, Steve Johnson and Jim Underdahl during his first three runs, maintaining the championship points lead by virtue of making it to the final round.
The nitro classes saw veterans and multi-time champions Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and John Force (Funny Car) pick up their respective Wally trophies. For more information on those finals, click here.
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series teams will continue their playoff runs at Gateway Motorsports Park, Sept. 23-25, with the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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