BARRE, Vt. — Jason Corliss ended the racing season at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl on the highest of highs by winning the 58th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank on Sunday afternoon.
Corliss won the first 50-lap segment and never looked back en route to his third victory in the last four years at Thunder Road’s flagship event for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models.
In the process, Corliss accomplished multiple deeds rarely seen in the Milk Bowl’s long history. The hometown racer became only the fourth driver to win the Milk Bowl three times in a four-year span after previously triumphing in 2017 and 2018. Corliss also is the first driver since 2004 to be the King of the Road and the Milk Bowl champion in the same year.
The veteran wasted little time getting to the front. After taking the segment one green flag in fourth, Corliss sliced past his competition, going around the outside of 2019 Milk Bowl winner Bobby Therrien on lap 13. Corliss and Therrien drove away from the field before the second caution for Brendan Moodie’s spin on lap 33.
The biggest challenge for Corliss in the segment came after Therrien and Donahue tangled racing for second with four laps to go, earning both a spot at the rear of the pack. Shelburne’s Trampas Demers got the jump on the initial restart, but Corliss powered back past him with two laps to get the segment win.
Corliss then survived a major scare early in segment two. Entered turn two on the 10th circuit, Alby Ovitt and Andy Hill got together mid-pack, sending Hill hard into the outside wall. With nowhere to go, several other top-10 finishers piled in and sustained major damage, including Matthew Smith, Marcel J. Gravel, Joel Hodgdon, and Matt White. Partway through the yellow, Corliss was forced to pit as well due to rear end damage, putting him at the back for the restart.
However, he showed just why he’s the track champion, flying back through the field. Corliss was up to eighth in the segment when he dodged another bullet, with Scott Dragon flying into the turn-one tire barrier right in front of him on lap 31. After another incident on lap 36, Corliss continued his march, taking fourth from Cody Blake on the final lap — which turned into a third-place after apparent segment two winner Bobby Therrien was disqualified for being too low.
Corliss thus entered the final segment with four total points, six ahead of a tie for second between Demers and polesitter Ryan Kuhn. He steadily picked his way through the field and was already in front of both challengers by halfway. Then on lap 26, something broke on Kuhn’s left front exiting turn four, sending the East Bridgewater, Mass., racer hard in the turn one wall and putting him on his roof. Kuhn was not injured in the incident.
With one of his closest challengers now eliminated, Corliss could now focus on making history. He continued his march forward and ultimately finished the third segment in fourth. His final score of eight points was nine more than the runner-up and marked the third straight year that eight points won the overall.
Blake appeared to have won a tiebreaker with Demers for second overall. However, Blake was subsequently disqualified for a suspension infraction. Demers thus second with segment finishes of second, eighth, and seventh. Dragon inherited the third position overall for a remarkable comeback after his segment two mishap.
Donahue finished fourth overall and inherited the segment two win. Tyler Cahoon, Christopher Pelkey, and Ovitt came fifth through seventh. Despite his frightening crash, Kuhn took eighth in the overall. Gravel bounced back to win the final segment flag-to-flag and finish ninth. Joel Hodgdon rounded out the top-10.
In other action, Sam Caron ended the season with his second win of the year in the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers Mini Milk Bowl and Jeffrey Martin ended a tough year on a high note by capturing the two-segment Mini Milk Bowl for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks. Colby Bourgeois was the winner of the 7-Eleven Dwarf Car Mini Milk Bowl.
Jason Corliss, Tramps Demers, Scott Dragon, Stephen Donahue, Tyler Cahoon, Christopher Pelkey, Alby Ovitt, Ryan Kuhn, Marcel J. Gravel, Joel Hodgdon, Brendan Moodie, Boomer Morris, Kyle Pembroke, Craig Bushey, Matt White, Brandon Lanphear, Dillon Moltz, Matthew Smith, Brooks Clark, Eric Chase, Bobby Therrien, Shawn Fleury, Anthony Hill, Mike Benevides, Derrick O’Donnell, Ben Rowe, Cody Blake.