Photos may be used with credit to Auto Imagery
POMONA, Calif. (February 11, 2018) – The final round of eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals was victorious for KB Racing before it was even contested as teammates Jason Line and Bo Butner lined up against one another. Line, driving the blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, was hungry for the win, but it was reigning world champ Butner who came out on top in a close match. No matter the outcome, KB Racing knew that they were sending team owners Ken and Judy Black home with their 12th Winternationals Pro Stock trophy.
"It's a shame only one of us could turn a win light on, but you'll see a race this year with all four KB Racing cars in the semifinals. That's our goal," said Butner, who claimed the sixth Pro Stock trophy of his career and 21st overall, including a plethora of Sportsman victories. "We have to go back and go to work, but that's eight rounds in a row for us here, and it says a lot for the KB Racing guys. It's amazing. I'm still living the dream."
Butner has claimed a fair amount of success at the Southern California drag strip and had three wins in five Pomona finals entering the last round of the day. His most recent win there was still fresh in his memory – he scored the trophy at the NHRA Finals last November in order to win the first Pro Stock championship of his career.
"Pomona has always been good to me," Butner continued. "I've been fortunate to go a lot of rounds in different classes, but I hadn't won this race until now in any class. I won the World Finals in Pro Stock, Super Stock and Stock Eliminator before, but this is the first time I won the Winternationals. It's just a cool atmosphere here, and it's a fun place to win.
"Before today, it actually didn't really feel like the season had even started, but once the rounds started clicking, it was serious time."
Butner advanced to the final with round-wins earned over Tanner Gray, KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, and Erica Enders. In the final, he clocked a .015-second reaction time in his Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro and wheeled his way to his best pass of the weekend, a 6.549-second journey down the quarter-mile at 209.62 mph. Line was .021 at the tree and clocked a 6.568, 209.59. The two are now split in final-round meetings, having each won once against one another. Butner had low elapsed time in three of the four rounds on Sunday.
Line extends Winternationals final-round streak
For Line, Pomona holds a certain magic. The final was his 11th at Auto Club Raceway and fifth consecutive Winternationals money-round. He had five previous wins at the venerable facility entering this year's final, all of them coming at the season-opener.
Line's path to the final included low elapsed time of the day in his 6.546, 209.88 first-round defeat of Kenny Delco's 6.617, 209.20. In the second round, he was out of the gate with a cool .020-second reaction time and advanced with a brisk 6.588, 208.42 next to a red-lighting Alex Laughlin. In the semifinals, he met with KB Racing's newest engine-program customer, Deric Kramer. As the newest addition to the KB Racing stable, Kramer qualified in the top half of the field and raced his way to the semis for the first time in his Pro Stock career. His day ended with a red light, sending Line ahead to the final.
"It was a good weekend, even if I didn't exactly get the result that I wanted with my Summit Racing Chevy Camaro," said Line. "I really wanted to win this race for Summit – this year is their 50th anniversary, and my next win will be my 50th in drag racing, counting my two Stock Eliminator trophies. I didn't get it done today, unfortunately, but it was a good weekend for the KB Racing team overall."
Anderson recognizes power, knows there is work ahead
No. 3 qualifier Anderson's red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro was undeniably the fastest on the property, and in qualifying, he was the only driver to exceed 211 mph. His 211.23 in the first round on Sunday was one of just two passes over 211 in eliminations, and he had top speed of the second round in his meeting with Butner on a strong 210.54 mph pass. Anderson's early exit was certainly not for lack of effort as he was first to leave the starting line with a crisp .023-second reaction.
"It was still a good weekend," said four-time Pro Stock champion Anderson, a 90-time national event winner and the second-most winning driver ever in the category. "You come to Pomona apprehensive, scared that you got passed by over the winter, and you never know until you race the race what everybody has. There are a lot of fast cars out here, and it's going to be one heck of a season, but the bottom line is that we have four of them. Our customers ran well, our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaros ran well, and we could have very easily had four cars in the semifinals. The power is there, the racecars are there, it's just a matter of piecing it all together. Overall, a great team effort and a great start to the season."
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 2
Round 1: Jason Line defeated Kenny Delco, 6.546-second at 209.88 mph to 6.617, 209.88
Round 2: Line def. Alex Laughlin (red light), 6.588, 208.42 to 6.599, 210.31
Round 3: Line def. Deric Kramer (red light), 16.795, 101.77 to 16.726, 50.88
Round 4: Bo Butner def. Line, 6.549, 209.62 to 6.568, 209.59
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 7
Round 1: Greg Anderson defeated Val Smeland, 6.561-second at 211.23 mph to 6.716, 206.35
Round 2: Bo Butner def. Greg Anderson, 6.622, 210.54 to 6.568, 210.05
Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 1
Round 1: Bo Butner defeated Tanner Gray, 6.557-second at 210.21 mph to 12.982, 71.74
Round 2: Butner def. Greg Anderson, 6.568, 210.05 to 6.622, 210.54
Round 3: Butner def. Erica Enders (red light), 6.592, 209.52 to 6.604, 209.20
Round 4: Butner def. Jason Line, 6.549, 209.62 to 6.568, 209.59
American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 4
Round 1: Deric Kramer defeated Chris McGaha, 6.565-second at 210.50 mph to 6.584, 210.73
Round 2: Kramer def. Vincent Nobile, 6.586, 209.69 to 6.598, 210.14
Round 3: Jason Line def. Kramer, 16.726, 50.88 to 16.795, 101.77
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
February 8-11, 2018
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Pro Stock Standings
(after Pomona Winternationals, race 1 of 24)
1. Bo Butner (1), 115
2. Jason Line, 98
3. Erica Enders, 74
4. Deric Kramer, 73
5. Drew Skillman, 65
6. Vincent Nobile, 63
7. Greg Anderson, 61
8. Alex Laughlin, 54
9. Chris McGaha, 33
10t. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 32
10t. Steve Graham, 32
10t. Tanner Gray, 32
KB Racing has 144 Pro Stock wins & 8 NHRA Pro Stock Championships