To even be in the championship hunt is nothing short of remarkable considering the team’s struggles in 2013. Anderson has yet to post a win – putting his streak of 12 straight seasons with a victory in jeopardy – and Line had only one heading into the Countdown. But the team continued to work hard to turn the season around.
“We had to do something because the Countdown was upon us, and again, we wanted to be able to contend for a championship,” Line said. “It’s great competition in this class, and that’s what brings out the best in you hopefully.”
Line also knows he’ll face an uphill climb to get the new Camaro running at a championship-caliber level this late in the season. But with a potential world championship looming, it’s a challenge he’s ready to take on.
“To have to start over is tough and it wouldn’t have been the path that I would have chosen,” Line said. “But that’s the way it goes, and you have to just deal with those things the best you can and make the best of it. That’s racing, that’s life. You’ve just got to make the best of it. Like I say, I feel like we’ll have at least a competitive car. We’re just going to keep working at it.”
In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon is the series leader over tough competitors Doug Kalitta and Spencer Massey, who trail by 83 and 85 points respectively. Should Langdon increase his series lead to 151 points over second place at this event he will clinch the championship title. Several others are still in title contention, but will need a strong showing in Las Vegas to boost their title hopes, including fourth place points-sitter Morgan Lucas, defending world champ Antron Brown and four-time NHRA Toyota Nationals event winner Tony Schumacher.
In Funny Car, 15-time world champion John Force is the current points leader in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. He will slug it out with Matt Hagan and his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger on The Strip, but drivers like defending champ Jack Beckman and former world champs Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon remain in contention and can all be wild cards in the title hunt.
The battle in Pro Stock Motorcycle will showcase the brewing rivalry between 2007 world champion and points leader Matt Smith and Hector Arana Jr. Smith has a 125 point lead over Arana Jr. and could clinch the championship title if he can add 26 more points to his lead at this event. Arana Jr., Michael Ray, Hector Arana Sr., and Krawiec all will be racing hard to keep the championship battle in the two-wheel category going for one more event.