BARRE — Hometown racer Jason Corliss dominated down the stretch to capture his second consecutive Community Bank N.A. 150 at Thunder Road on Sunday.
Corliss held off a mid-race charge from reigning “King of the Road” Scott Dragon to grab his third consecutive ACT Late Model Tour win at Thunder Road. It marked his 13th career Late Model victory at the Nation’s Site of Excitement.
Corliss started third in the 26-car field and was content to ride in the early going as outside pole-sitter Trampas Demers set the pace. But just past the 20-lap mark, Corliss jumped to the outside and completed the pass on the 24th circuit.
The second caution of the day on lap 52 for a turn-one incident involving Darrell Morin and Josh Demers set up a duel between Corliss and Dragon, who had moved into the second spot. Dragon was able to stay at Corliss’s door for several laps following the restart before eventually dropping back in behind him.
Dragon got a second chance on lap 59 when Tyler Cahoon spun after getting crammed in traffic. This time, Dragon poked his front bumper out front for three circuits, with the two swapping the lead three more times in the next few laps before Corliss got the upper hand.
As soon as Corliss sped past Dragon, the fourth-and-final caution came out on lap 66 for Trevor Lyman’s spin. Dragon took the lead again for two more laps on that restart before Corliss pulled back in front for good.
Fellow Barre racer Nick Sweet flew through the field from his 21st starting position to move into second place on lap 116. Sweet emerged as a potential threat in the closing stages, but Corliss responded by putting the hammer down and sailing away late.
Sweet finished second while Dragon took third. Demers ended up fourth and was followed by Rich Dubeau in fifth. Dubeau was the highest-finishing ACT Late Model Tour regular. Williamstown’s Jimmy Hebert finished sixth to take over the early ACT point lead. Marcel J. Gravel, Stephen Donahue, Brooks Clark and Matt White rounded out the top-10.
Thirty-five drivers attempted to earn a spot for the 26-car starting field. In a stunning development, two-time defending ACT Champion Scott Payea failed to qualify for the main event. Defending Seekonk Speedway Champion Ryan Kuhn and top-10 Thunder Road Late Model competitor Kyle Pembroke were among the other notable names who did not make the cut.
The Flying Tiger feature results were eventually decided in the tech line more than an hour following the event. Barre’s Jason Pelkey appeared to earn a runaway victory after getting underneath Milton’s Sam Caron on lap 24 of the 40-lap main event. But Pelkey was disqualified in post-race inspection for a chassis infraction. As a result, Williamstown’s Micheal MacAskill inherited his first career win after crossing the finish line in second.
The shuffling didn’t end there as apparent third- and fourth-place finishers Sid Sweet and Cooper Bouchard were also disqualified for chassis infractions. This gave defending Rookie of the Year Brandon Lanphear the second spot, with Marshfield’s Matt Potter completing the new podium. Tyler Austin, Kelsea Woodard, Jason Woodard, Brad Bushey, Kevin Streeter, Joe Steffen and Colin Cornell completed the top-10.
Another first-time winner emerged in the Street Stocks, with Barre’s Tyler Pepin taking the victory. Pepin started seventh and managed to avoid a massive pile-up on a lap-2 result that was triggered when two cars near the front of the field made contact on the backstretch. Pepin then got the jump on Graniteville’s J.T. Blanchard following the third-and-final restart on lap 16.
Blanchard earned a career-best second-place finish, followed by Derby’s Tim Hunt in third. Kasey Collins, Kasey Beattie, Jamie Davis, Michael Gay, Kyle MacAskill, Derek Farnham and Justin Blakely also earned top-10 finishes.
Brookfield’s Nate Brien became the third first-time winner of the day in the Road Warriors feature. He started on the pole of the 20-lap event and pulled away in the early stages before Hardwick’s Davey Chase reeled him in down the stretch. Chase made a daring three-wide bid for the lead around a lapped-car, but Brien fended him off for the win.
East Corinth’s Brian Putney followed the duo across the line in third. Kylar Davis, Haidyn Pearce, Josh Vilbrin, Todd Raymo, Eric Chase, Fred Fleury and Sean McCarthy rounded out the top 10.
The ACT Late Model Tour will travel to White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday for the Spring Green 119. Post time is 6 p.m. for a program that also includes the track’s Flying Tigers, Strictly Stock Minis, Dwarf Cars and Kids Trucks. Admission is $20 for adults and free for children 12-and-under.
Thunder Road will be back in action on May 26 at 1:30 p.m. for the 57th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. The Late Models will open their 2019 championship season with a 100-lap event, while the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models will return for a 150-lap affair. The Flying Tigers, Street Stocks and Road Warriors round out the card.