BARRE, Vt. — Jason Corliss notched yet another crown jewel at Thunder Road by fending off the best of the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models as well as the threat of Mother Nature in the 41st Vermont Governor’s Cup 150 on Thursday night.
The defending champion got the best of multiple on-track battles in the race of the year for the late models to grab his second straight win and the 17th of his storied career.
Corliss earned the pole in qualifying under the “plus-minus” system to lead a 23-car starting field to the green flag. After the veteran set the pace early, Marcel J. Gravel showed why he was the late model point leader entering the night, swinging around the outside of Corliss to take the lead on lap 24. Corliss stayed to the inside of Gravel for more than a dozen circuits, but Gravel was able to use a lapped car as a pick on lap 38 to finally finish the pass.
Corliss stayed glued to Gravel’s bumper, though, while three-time track champion Derrick O’Donnell also entered the mix. When Christopher Pelkey spun out of the fifth position to bring out the first caution flag on lap 57, it put the leaders side-by-side again. When another yellow flew a lap later for Stephen Donahue’s spin, it was Corliss who had the nose up for the top spot.
The duo initially seemed content to break away from the field on the next restart. But at the halfway mark, with potential rain in the area, Gravel decided to push the button and went to the outside of Corliss. Gravel took the lead on lap 78 and again used a lapped car to clear Corliss on the 81st circuit.
Eight laps later, though, Corliss went back to the inside lane. For more than 20 laps, the pair went door handle to door handle, knowing the race could end at any second.
As they battled, Scott Dragon, Bobby Therrien, and Tyler Cahoon all closed in. With the lead tandem approaching traffic again on lap 109, Corliss asserted himself, powering to the front and clearing Gravel just before they caught Donahue.
Therrien followed him through for second and was on Corliss’s bumper as they worked around the lapped car of Matt White when Chip Grenier crashed in turn four with 16 laps to go to bring out the final caution. On the restart,
White was to Corliss’s outside with Therrien on his bumper as they went back to the last complete lap. When the green flag flew again, it was White who had the edge, unlapping himself as Dragon sliced from fourth to second in the scramble.
Corliss dove back inside White, though, and after a few laps of pressure from Dragon and a late-surging Trampas Demers, both Corliss and White began pulling away from the field even as they ran wheel to wheel. With the rest of the pack sorting it out behind them, Corliss escaped to nab his first career victory in Thunder Road’s oldest event.
Dragon retook the second spot in the final laps while Therrien nipped Demers at the line for third. Cahoon took fifth as Gravel faded to sixth.
Prior to the Governor’s Cup, Kyler Davis got the upper hand in another thrilling battle between two Allen Lumber Street Stock rookies to grab his first career win.
The rain that had threatened throughout the Governor’s Cup finally arrived 10 laps into the 40-lap Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger feature. Kyle Streeter was leading over Derrick Calkins and rookie Kasey Beattie when the rain came.
Jason Corliss, Scott Dragon, Bobby Therrien, Trampas Demers, Tyler Cahoon, Marcel J. Gravel, D.J. Shaw, Kyle Pembroke, Ryan Kuhn, Brendan Moodie, Brooks Clark, Bryan Kruczek, Matt White, Darrell Morin, Stephen Donahue, Christopher Peolkey, Eric Chase, Derek Gluchacki, Chip Grenier, Cody Blake, Matthew Smith, Boomer Morris, Ricky Roberts.