LAS VEGAS --
After collecting the $200,000 series champion's check, Line shared the spotlight with race winners Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Richie Stevens (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"I can't believe it," Line said. "This doesn't seem real. It's been coming but now that it's finally happened I don't even know what to say."
Line needed to earn 20 more points than teammate and three-time defending category champ Greg Anderson to clinch the crown and accomplished that in a head-to-head meeting in the semifinals. The championship is the fourth in a row for Las Vegas-based team owner Ken Black.
"It's bittersweet to clinch it against Greg," said Line, who has earned four victories in eight final rounds this season in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. "He's the man. He's my champion. I love the guy and to me he'll always be the man. If not for him giving me the chance to drive in the first place, I wouldn't be standing here. To keep the championship within the team is huge. There is a huge group of people responsible for what happens on the racetrack and this championship will be shared by all of us. It's a great group that Ken has put together and I'm proud to be a part of it."
"We picked up 44 points today," Schumacher said. "If we do that again in Pomona I (will) lose the championship by one point," Schumacher said. "That's why the record was so important for us to get. I don't mean to be disappointed, but we wanted it so much. It's still a big win. That was probably the biggest win light of my career."
"One of the things about drag racing is that it will eat you alive if you let the lows get to you, so I want to temper myself on this high," Beckman said. "I always said I want to be a dignified racer and accept defeat and victory equally but I kind of blew the roof off that deal just now. It was just such a feeling."
John Force added 27 points to his Funny Car lead over Ron Capps and will now carry a 71-point advantage into the final race of the season at Pomona, Calif. Robert Hight is two points behind Capps in third. Both Capps and Hight lost in the first round. Hight's Auto Club Ford Mustang broke on the burnout.
Line had the better car, running a 6.735 at 204.57 mph in his Summit Racing GTO. But his sluggish .090-second light allowed Mopar pro Stevens to win with a 6.789 at 202.85 mph in his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus.
"We had a great day," Stevens said. "I knew I had to be on the Tree with the guys I was racing and I guess I pulled it off. Three double-oh lights is pretty good and like I always say, when it's your day to win one of these things it's your day no matter what."
"Every point seems so crucial this year," Hines said. "It was tough the first time we won because they added weight to us in the middle of the season. This year they gave the Suzukis more cubic inches and they've been right there with us. It's hard to compare but this season has been the toughest. If we hold on now and win it all it will be special."
Hines looked every bit the rider that won the last two championships Sunday, posting the quickest pass of each elimination round as he mowed down Tom Bradford, Brown, Ryan Schnitz, and Tonglet with a 7.080 at 188.65 mph on his Harley-Davidson V-Rod.
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its final stop of the season, Nov. 9-12, with the 42nd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California.
Sunday's final results from the Sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The $1.8 million race is the 22nd of 23 in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series --
Top Fuel -- Tony Schumacher, 4.469 seconds, 313.58 mph def. J.R. Todd, 4.550 seconds, 320.81 mph.
Funny Car -- Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.783, 327.19 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.704, 244.47.
Pro Stock -- Richie Stevens, Dodge Stratus, 6.789, 202.85 def. Jason Line, Pontiac GTO, 6.735, 204.57.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.080, 188.65 def. GT Tonglet, Harley-Davidson, 7.310, 181.91.
Super Stock -- Greg Luneack, Chevy Nova Wagon, 11.058, 116.89 def. Tony DeFrank, Chevy Cobalt, 9.628, 131.28.
Stock Eliminator -- Clark Holroyd, Chevy Nova, 10.659, 122.63 def. Mark Faul, Chevelle, 11.264, 110.72.
Super Comp -- Kevin Kleinweber, Dragster, 9.056, 156.84 def. Terry Edwards, Dragster, 9.049, 171.60.
Super Gas -- Bob Harris Jr., chevy Corvette, 10.043, 155.99 def. Richard Okerman, Chevy Beretta, 10.042, 155.42.