BARRE, Vt. — Hometown racer Jason Corliss left NASCAR’s Ryan Preece and everyone else behind on the way to his second straight Essex Equipment Vermont Governor’s Cup victory at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl Thursday night.
Corliss took the lead from three-time track champion Derrick O’Donnell on lap 41 of the 150-lap event and dusted the 27-car field en route to a statement win.
It was the third Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model win for Corliss this season and the 23rd of his career. The triumph moved Corliss into sole possession of second place on the track’s all-time Late Model wins list.
Former Essex Equipment Vermont Governor’s Cup winner Brooks Clark earned the pole and led the first 34 laps. Behind him, the only early drama came on lap 11 when Marcel J. Gravel cut a tire and slid into the turn one tire barriers, forcing his retirement from the race.
Clark pulled away at first on the restart but came back to the field just as O’Donnell and Corliss were making their moves. O’Donnell swung to the outside of Clark and took the lead on lap 35 with Corliss right behind him. The reigning champion made the former champion’s stay at the front short-lived at Corliss, who started seventh, blasted around O’Donnell on the high line to take the lead with 41 circuits complete.
The second and final caution on lap 45 for Andy Hill’s encounter with the turn three wall was the only thing that slowed Corliss from there. When the green flag came back out, Corliss was gone, showing why he is one of the most accomplished racers in Thunder Road’s modern area. O’Donnell fell behind Clark for a stretch, but even after retaking the second spot on lap 92, he had trouble making the No. 66VT larger in his windshield.
The action was fierce from fourth on back, with Kyle Pembroke and Scott Dragon fighting their way from deeping in the field. Preece, Chip Grenier, Tyler Cahoon, Matthew Smith, and others were part of a huge pack battling for every position and point they could get. But Corliss was so dominant that he caught this pack in the closing laps.
With a straightaway and four laps cars between himself and O’Donnell, Corliss chose not to force the issue. Instead, he cruised to the Governor’s Cup win, which was presented by Governor Phil Scott and Preece after they climbed out of their race cars.
O’Donnell was second followed by Clark in third. Pembroke came from 20th on the starting grid to swipe fourth from Grenier in the final laps.
Bryan Wall Jr. got his second win of the year in the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers.
Christopher Davis celebrated his 50th birthday by winning an RK Miles Street Stock barnburner.
Jason Corliss, Derrick O’Donnell, Brooks Clark, Kyle Pembroke, Chip Grenier, Scott Dragon, Trampas Demers, Brendan Moodie, Bobby Therrien, Ryan Preece, Matthew Smith, Tyler Cahoon, Christopher Peolkey, Brandon Lanphear, Cody Blake, Darrell Morin, Cooper Bouchard, Phil Scott, Connor Martell, Ryan Kuhn, Scott Coburn, Stephen Donahue, Jamie Swallow Jr., Anthony Hill, Chris Roberts, Marcel J. Gravel, Eric Chase.