BARRE, Vt. – Jason Corliss scored his first career Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl late-model win in the 52nd running of the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic.
Corliss stole the win with a last lap pass of multi-time Thunder Road champion Nick Sweet in a photo finish of the first Vermont State Late Model Championship event of the year.
Sweet led every step of the way during the first 99 laps of the caution free 100 lap event. The hometown favorite rode the much favored high lane as he lapped the majority of the field. Sophomore driver Corliss and Cody Blake caught Sweet in the final 10 laps as they worked heavy lap traffic. Corliss got by Blake but couldn’t find the grip to get around Sweet. With the white flag flying, Corliss made a last ditch effort as he threw his Burnett Scrap Metals Ford Fusion to the low lane.
The duo banged fenders all the way around the final quarter mile and slid sideways out of turn four as they came to the checkered flag. Corliss edged Sweet at the line by the smallest recorded margin of victory in Thunder Road and ACT Late Model racing’s history at eight one-thousandths of a second.
“We banged a little bit, but that’s short track racing,” said Corliss in victory lane. “I was 16 years old towing a junk Street Stock here every week and I didn’t think this was ever possible.”
Corliss is a former Allen Lumber Street Stock Champion (2008) who worked his way up through the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen ranks at Thunder Road. Last season he climbed behind the wheel of an ACT Late Model for his rookie season.
Corliss and Sweet were joined in victory lane by Cody Blake, making it an all Barre top three. Three-time Memorial Day Classic winner Dave Pembroke took fourth followed by Jimmy Hebert in fifth. Chip Grenier, Derrick O’Donnell, Phil Scott, Brooks Clark and Shawn Fleury completed the top ten.
The event was completed in just 23 minutes and 50 seconds with no cautions. A total of 15 cars completed all 100 laps, while 30 of the 31 starters took the checkered flag.
The Modified Challenge Series featuring Modifieds from Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT were on hand for the Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic. Jessey Mueller earned the win in the Twin 20’s event. Mueller also claimed the checkered in 2013’s Modified portion of the Memorial Day Classic. Jason Durgan and Vince Quinneville, Jr. completed the podium.
Brendan Moodie claimed his ninth career feature win in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen portion of the event. He was chased to the line by Jason Woodard and Mike Martin.
Second generation driver Marcel Gravel earned his first career Allen Lumber Street Stock win in a thrilling feature event. Dave Whitcomb and Alan Maynard completed the podium.