Barre- Was there ever any doubt? Jason Corliss had the fastest car all weekend, and went untouched throughout the race. As he did all season, he drove effortlessly through the field of 26 American Canadian Tour late models on his way to an incredible final score of 7 and a third Milk Bowl title.
“It feels damn good” Corliss said in victory lane. “I owe it all to my race team, they put a great race car underneath me”
For Corliss, it’s his 8th total win in any Thunder Road’s five marquee events. It’s his 20th career win, which ties him for third on the all time leaderboard with Dave Pembroke and Cris Michaud. This win undoubtedly cements his legacy as one of the best drivers in the history of the speedway, and at just 33 years of age, he should have plenty more time to make even more history.
Corliss joined Michaud as the only drivers in the ACT era to win both the Thunder Road track championship and the Milk Bowl in the same season, a feat he took great pride in while in victory lane. “I learned how to race because of Cris, watching him throughout his career” he said. “It’s just really special”
Aside from Corliss, the story of the day, and predictably so was the second segment. Just 7 laps in, the 36 car of Joel Hodgdon broke an axel, causing grease to coat the track and cars to pile into each other in turn 2. Marcel Gravel, Matthew Smith, Matt White, and Shawn Fleury were just a handful of cars involved in the “big one” that almost inevitably happens every year in the second 50 lap stint of the day.
Gravel was able to return to the race in time for segment three, where he went on to lead all 50 laps and win, taking home an overall finish of 9th on the day. It’s the second straight year that the 86 team rallied from an accident to finish in the top 10.
Matthew Smith tried to repair his #04 machine, but unfortunately, the Arnie Hill owned car was badly damaged in the initial crash, and he ended up blowing a right front tire, causing the car to hit hard into the turn 2 wall. Smith was perhaps the most impressive driver of the weekend, however, as he time trialed in the top 10, and drove from 11th to 4th in the first segment, in what was just his second Milk Bowl start.
One of the favorites going into the race, the Milk Bowl quickly turned into a disaster for defending champ Bobby Therrien. Contact between Therrien and outside pole sitter Stephen Donahue early in the race resulted in both drivers being sent to the rear of the field, effectively ending their hopes at a win. The driver from Hinesburg, VT went on to win the second segment, only to have his bad day get worse, as his #5 car was deemed too low in the tech line, relegating him to a 27th place finish in the segment. Therrien wound up 21st on the day with a score of 60, which when compared to his winning score of 8 in last year’s event, only proved how cruel the Milk Bowl can be.
East Bridgewater, MA driver Ryan Kuhn was having a career weekend at the Milk Bowl, before disaster struck. He ran very well in the first two segments, sitting 2nd overall going into the final 50 laps, with a total score of 11. Midway through the race, though, the left front suspension failed in his #72 car, sending it straight at the turn 4 wall, and causing it to flip upside down, where it came to rest on its roof. “It’s just disappointing” he told us. “It’s part of racing, but it just sucks.”
Kuhn did come home with an 8th place finish overall, however, leaving the weekend with a total pay day of $2,150, but with a completely wrecked race car.
58th Annual Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl Final Results
- #66 Jason Corliss, Barre VT (8 Points)
- #85 Trampas Demers, Shelburne VT (17)
- #16 Scott Dragon, Milton VT (24)
- #2 Stephen Donahue, Graniteville VT (26)
- #38 Tyler Cahoon, St Johnsbury VT (28)
- #64 Christopher Pelkey, Graniteville VT (29)
- #35 Alby Ovitt, Candia NH (29)
- #72 Ryan Kuhn, E. Bridgewater MA (30)
- #86 Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott VT (33)
- #36 Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury VT (37)
- #94 Brendan Moodie, Wolcott VT (37)
- #13 Boomer Morris, Barre VT (40)
- #27 Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier VT (40)
- #15 Craig Bushey, Fairfax VT (42)
- #42 Matt White, Northfield VT (43)
- #11 Brandon Lanphear, Morrisville VT (44)
- #5ME Dillon Moltz, New Sharon ME (48)
- #04 Matthew Smith, Essex VT (49)
- #68 Brooks Clark, Waitsfield VT (51)
- #40 Eric Chase, Milton VT (57)
- #5VT Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg VT (60)
- #5NY Shawn Fleury, Middlesex VT (67)
- #8 Anthony Hill, Waterford VT (68)
- #50 Mike Benevides, Westerly RI (72)
- #60 Derrick O’Donnell, N. Haverhill NH (79)
- #4 Ben Rowe, Turner, ME (80)
- #99 Cody Blake, Barre VT (DSQ)