Jason Line earned the distinction of being crowned the first Pro Stock champion of the electronic fuel injection era, which began in 2016 with a whole lot of learning for everyone.
Prior to the season, the running joke among teams was that any driver who could get the car to start four times in a row would be the favorite, but KB team drivers Line and Greg Anderson didn’t get the memo as they combined to win the first 13 events (seven for Line, six for Anderson) and often had close to a tenth of a second on their opponents.
Line went to 11 finals and compiled a 41-5 round-win record while qualifying either first or second at 11 of the first 12 events. All five of Line’s early-season losses were to Anderson, further testimony to the team’s dominance.
During the second half of the season, eventually, the pack started to close as Allen Johnson, Drew Skillman, Chris McGaha, Vincent Nobile, Shane Gray, Aaron Strong, and Alex Laughlin all won races, but the lead duo had such a big early-season advantage that they couldn’t be caught.
Line began the final event of the season in Pomona with a lead of less than a round over, but after qualifying No. 1, Line entered eliminations with a 21-point advantage over Anderson. The title was decided in the semifinals when Line beat two-time and reigning world champ Erica Enders. Neither driver could be beaten through the first three rounds, so when the two most dominant Pro Stock racers of the season predictably met in the final round, the championship already belonged to Line.
Although the season title was lost, Anderson enjoyed a little retribution when he beat Line in the final on a holeshot, 6.580 to 6.570 for his eighth win of the season and the 86th of his career, passing legend Bob Glidden on the all-time Pro Stock wins list for sole possession of second place and snugging up the final points gap to just three points.
Though Line lost the final to Anderson, he had clinched his third Pro Stock championship and fourth overall, counting his 1993 Stock championship.
1. Jason Line: 2,639
2. Greg Anderson: 2,636
3. Shane Gray: 2,492
|CLOSEST FINISHES IN NHRA HISTORY
Hector Arana Sr.