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NHRA: Minnesota native Line holds top spot after Friday qualifiers in Pro Stock

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Jason Line (near lane) remains on top after the second round of Pro Stock qualifying with a low E.T. 6.606 . In the far lane, Erica Enders places second with a low E.T. of 6.616 Friday, Aug. 16, at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

There haven’t been any wins this season for NHRA Pro Stock driver Jason Line, but he got off to a good start during the first day of qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Friday, August 16 at Brainerd International Raceway.

Line, who grew up in Wright, Minnesota, ran a low ET of 6.613, traveling at 207.46 mph during the first qualifying run.

Running in the last group of the day with Erica Enders in the second round of qualifying, Line improved his ET to 6.606, with Enders holding her spot behind him with a time of 6.616.

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Pro Stock drivers Jason Line (left) Matt Hartford and Greg Anderson talk before their first run Friday, Aug. 16, at the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Line was first round qualifier Friday with a low ET of 6.613 reaching 207.46 mph. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

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“It could have went a little faster and I need to go back to shift school,” Line said of his performance. “I left a few thousandths out there but it was a nice run. I do think we will go faster tomorrow and it is hard to say (if the low time will hold). Erica’s (Enders) car is running real well right now and Bo (Butner) has the potential to, but I like where I am at and don’t want to trade with anyone.”

Matt Hartford arrived at Brainerd coming off a win two weeks ago at the Northwest Nationals which denied Duluth, Minnesota native Greg Anderson a chance for a sweep of the three-race western swing to Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle.

Anderson currently sits in second place in the countdown standings.

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Race fans line the fence Friday, Aug. 16, during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Hartford was in fifth place after the first day of qualifying and Anderson is in the eighth spot.

Bo Butner is the current points leader and finished the first day of qualifying in the sixth spot.

But the two most consistent performers of the day were Enders and Line. Both drivers improved their times from the first round to the second round.

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While happy with his time, Line knows that both Enders, Butner and the field of drivers will offer a challenge to his time during the second day of qualifying on Saturday. Just under five tenths of a second stand between the No. 1 qualifying spot with Line and the No. 10 qualifier Richard Freeman.

“Everyone is so close that it stinks being in the middle of the field. You want to qualify at the top and I haven’t done that for awhile now so it feels good,” Line said.

Capturing a Wally at BIR would be big for Line as the track holds special meaning for him. Back in 2014 he was the race winner, but it happened in Indianapolis after the Brainerd race was rained out. He followed that up with second place finishes in 2015 and 2016.

“I made my first ever run here. I won my first race and national event here. There are a lot of firsts for me here,” Line said of BIR. “I love coming back here. And my dad ran his car here at the very first race they ever had here in 1968 and he still has the car.”

“It’s fun but it is a lot of chaos at the same time. You have to keep it all separate but it is fun. I love coming back here and seeing all the folks who I grew up with and started racing with. This is where I made my first ever lap down a race track so I love coming back here.”

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Jason Line drives his Pro Stock to 6.613 ET reaching 207.46 mph as the top Qualifier if the first round of the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Pro Stock Friday Qualifying Results

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1-Jason Line 6.606, 207.27; 2-Erica Enders 6.616, 206.99; 3-Deric Kramer 6.627, 207.5; 4-Jeg Coughlin 6.627, 206.54; 5- Matt Hartford 6.628, 205.63; 6-Bo Butner 6.633, 206.64; 7-Fernando Cuadra 6.640, 206.89; 8-Greg Anderson 6.643, 206.01; 9-Alex Laughlin 6.643, 205.79; 10-Richard Freeman 6.657, 206.39; 11-Kenny Delco 6.663, 206.2; 12-Fernando Cuadra Jr 6.668, 205.79; 13-Val Smeland 6.673, 206.51; 14-Shane Tucker 6.692, 206.04; 15-Wally Stroupe 6.725, 204.7; 16-Chris McGaha 6.728, 205.19; 17-Alan Prusiensky 6.784, 203.12; 18-Cristian Cuadra 6.794, 201.91; 19-Robert River 6.858, 198.47; 20-Mark Hogan 6.897, 198.41.

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