Barre’s own Jason Corliss scored his first career Thunder Road 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 an elated 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 of Olmstedville, NY 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 of Wolcott 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 of Wolcott earned his first career Allen Lumber Street Stock win in a thrilling feature event. Dave Whitcomb and Alan Maynard completed the podium.
The point battles continue when Thunder Road International Speedbowl opens its gate’s again on Thursday, June 5 for the first Thursday night event of the season presented by Fairpoint Communications.
Unofficial Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic Results
Thunder Road – Barre, VT
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Vermont State Late Model Championship Series
1. (7) Jason Corliss, Barre, VT, 100 Laps
2. (1) Nick Sweet, Barre, VT, 100 Laps
3. (6) Cody Blake, Barre, VT, 100 Laps
4. (5) Dave Pembroke, Middlesex, VT, 100 Laps
5. (2) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, 100 Laps
6. (4) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT, 100 Laps
7. (11) Derrick O'Donnell, N. Haverhill, NH, 100 Laps
8. (8) Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT, 100 Laps
9. (12) Brooks Clark, Fayston, VT, 100 Laps
10. (10) Shawn Fleury, Middlesex, VT, 100 Laps
11. (9) Eric Chase, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
12. (20) Trampas Demers, S. Burlington, VT, 100 Laps
13. (19) #Eric Badore, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
14. (21) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 100 Laps
15. (3) Lance Allen, Barre, VT, 100 Laps
16. (24) Tyler Cahoon, St. Johnsbury, VT, 99 Laps
17. (15) Jason Allen, Barre, VT, 99 Laps
18. (14) Emily Packard, E. Montpelier, VT, 99 Laps
19. (29) John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, 99 Laps
20. (18) Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, VT, 99 Laps
21. (17) David Whitcomb, Essex Jct., VT, 99 Laps
22. (13) Brett Gervais, Island Pond, VT, 99 Laps
23. (25) Joey M. Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, 99 Laps
24. (22) #Brandon Atkins, AuSable Forks, NY, 99 Laps
25. (23) Boomer Morris, Barre, VT, 98 Laps
26. (26) #Josh Demers, Montpelier, VT, 98 Laps
27. (28) Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier, VT, 98 Laps
28. (27) Jerry Lesage, Winooski, VT, 98 Laps
29. (31) Scott Coburn, Barre, VT, 98 Laps
30. (30) Ricky Roberts, E. Barre, VT, 97 Laps
31. (16) Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, VT, 46 Laps
Lap Leaders: Nick Sweet, 1-99; Jason Corliss, 100.
Time of Race: 23:50
Margin of Victory: .008 seconds