The 2017 Vermont Milk Bowl at Thunder Road International Speedbowl was one that will be talked about for many years to come. At the end of 150 laps, two drivers sat tied in points. The honor to kiss “Maple” the dairy cow came down to a tiebreaker. Jason Corliss made a move with less than 10 laps to go to pass Trampas Demers. That pass gave Jason Corliss his first Milk Bowl victory.
Corliss was in a similar position one year ago when he lost the Milk Bowl by a whopping total of two points. When the laps were winding down late on Sunday, Corliss found himself trailing Demers by one point with Demers’ No. 85 right in front of him.
“My spotter told me that I needed to pass the 85 to win the Milk Bowl. Boy, I was getting by that 85,” said Corliss in victory lane. “Last year we were just outside looking in and in the last couple of laps we needed a spot. This year we had that same opportunity. I needed one spot to win the Milk Bowl and I wasn’t going to let that opportunity out of my grasp again. To get that redemption and make it happen this time, boy does it feel sweet.”
The Milk Bowl is a race broken into three segments. At the end of each segment, your finishing position determines your score. At the end of all three segments, the driver with the lowest score is crowned as the winner.
At the end of 150 laps, Corliss and Demers both had a total of 13 points. The tiebreaker goes to whoever finished higher in the race’s final segment.
Corliss made his move with less than 10 to go. He entered turn one on the outside, then cut his No. 66 hard to the left to get underneath Demers on the exit of turn two. By the time they reached turn three Corliss was clear of Demers and had the position.
Demers didn’t let Corliss drive away, but he was unable to make one more late charge to take the position back.
“That was great because you don’t have to worry about anything else,” explained Corliss. “Normally you have to worry about getting so many positions ahead of the next guy and kind of play the points game. It was so great to have the guy in front of you be the guy you need to pass to win the Milk Bowl.”
“Everything was fine until like the last 10 laps or so and Jason made the move of the race,” said Demers. “He got to my outside, crossed me over and got me out of the groove. That’s what it took.”
As a result, Corliss was awarded the honor of kissing the cow, and boy did he ever plant one on Maple. Corliss first applied some chap stick to his lips. Then, he grabbed Maple by her head, and gave her a five-second kiss right on the lips.
It’s a kiss that won’t soon be forgotten by those in attendance at Thunder Road.
“Dwayne Lanphear, a guy that races Tigers now, he won the Milk Bowl in 2003 timeframe. He laid one heck of a smooch on there. My guys told me that if you win this race this may be the only opportunity you get, so you better lay a good one. We made it count.”
Trampas Demers finished second to Corliss, followed by Scott Payea, Bobby Therrien and Jimmy Hebert. Nick Sweet was looking for his third Milk Bowl win in a row. He won the race’s first segment but faded in the final stage to sixth overall.
“We missed it on tires really, really bad that last segment,” Sweet said. “I just couldn’t pick up the gas. If you would’ve asked me after the second segment, man it would have been really good. It’s a disappointing end of the day, but we’ll just have to come back next year and try to prove them wrong again.”
For an on-demand replay of Sunday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by RPM Racing Engines, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from the 55th Vermont Milk Bowl, including video highlights and an on-demand replay of Sunday’s video broadcast, still to come on the Speed51 Video Network.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
55th Vermont Milk Bowl Unofficial Results
Pos # Driver Points
1 66VT Jason Corliss 13
2 85VT Trampas Demers 13
3 37VT Scott Payea 16
4 5VT Bobby Therrien 18
5 58VT Jimmy Hebert 27
6 88VT Nick Sweet 28
7 99VT Cody Blake 30
8 68VT Brooks Clark 35
9 2VT Stephen Donahue 36
10 86VT Marcel Gravel 38
11 27VT Kyle Pembroke 39
12 64VT Christopher Pelkey 40
13 17VT Darrell Morin 41
14 42VT Matt White 41
15 00VT Mike Bailey 42
16 11NY Josh Masterson 46
17 10NH Bryan Mason 46
18 16VT Scott Dragon 47
19 40VT Eric Chase 47
20 10ME Jesse Switser 48
21 93CT Ray Christian III 49
22 48QC Alex Labbe 50
23 38VT Tyler Cahoon 59
24 1VT Evan Hallstrom 64
25 41QC Jonathan Bouvrette 69
26 3VT Ricky Roberts 70