Jason Corliss earned himself a second date with a Vermont beauty queen Sunday afternoon at Thunder Road International Speedbowl (VT). The hometown driver from Barre, Vermont used a last-lap pass on Bobby Therrien to win the 56thVermont Milk Bowl and lay a second smooch on the cow.
Corliss (first and third) and Therrien (second and second) entered the final 50-lap segment in a dead heat with four points each. With Corliss starting 23rdand Therrien starting 24thin the third segment, it was a drag race to the front.
After swapping the Milk Bowl lead numerous times during the segment, Therrien took the white flag with a one-spot advantage over Corliss. But on the final lap, Corliss powered to the inside of Therrien in turn three and the two cars made contact as they slid to the checkered flag.
When the checkered flag waved, it was Corliss edging Therrien by a narrow 0.039-second margin.
“That was exciting for sure. You never know what’s going to happen here, you never know all the way down to the last lap,” Corliss told Speed51.com. “I’m just so fortunate to have such a great team, driving great race cars. I’ve said it time and time again, they make me look good. I just try to do my job behind the wheel and today was no different.”
During the cool down lap, Therrien displayed his frustration with Corliss by running him up the race track. Corliss explained his winning move after the race.
“The last lap of the Milk Bowl, that’s what you got to do, right? We made a little contact which caused him to get free and go up the hill, so I just turned to the bottom and drove it for all I was worth,” Corliss stated. “We made some contact off of four and he stayed in the gas as much as he had to, I stayed in the gas as much as I had to. I know we made contact, I didn’t intend for us to make contact, I didn’t intend for him to hit the wall. I think he did, but it’s the Milk Bowl. I know he would’ve done the same to me.
“There’s so much hard work and emotion that goes into this race, I don’t blame him for being upset. I would’ve been upset too. I’m glad he didn’t do anything, get out of the car, hit my car, anything like that. But I don’t blame him for being upset and showing frustration. That’s what this race is about. If you’re frustrated, you should be able to show you’re frustrated. I’m sure we’ll talk about it. I’m sure he’ll have some words for me, and that’s fine. I’m sure we’ll get over it.”
After taking some time to cool down immediately after the race, Therrien was dejected but proud of his team for a strong runner-up finish.
“It’s racing. We do this stuff for the love of it and for the hate of it,” Therrien said. “These guys all weekend, right from when we unloaded on Friday, they busted their butts. Every single run they made the car better and better. We were really fast both with the Late Model today and the Super Late Model Friday night. You can’t take anything away from those guys. They earned this. We were hoping for a little better finish but second is still a really good finish for the Milk Bowl.”
When asked if he would speak to Corliss about what occurred on the final lap, Therrien said that the two drivers will eventually talk.
“We’ve got each other’s cell phone numbers and we text each other quite a bit,” he stated. “It is what it is. It’s the Milk Bowl. He did what he had to do. Maybe one day I’m in those same shoes and who knows what I’ll do in that situation, but congratulations to the 66 team. They got two back to back.”
Corliss’ second kiss with the Vermont dairy cow, Miss Arreis, served as an encore performance from one year ago. Once again, Corliss didn’t disappoint when it was time to lay a smooch.
“She’s a good girl. We just keep it simple and hopefully we’ll see her again next year.”
Brooks Clark, Stephen Donahue and Scott Payea completed the top five Sunday evening.
Race fans can watch an on-demand video replay of Sunday’s thrilling Milk Bowl by clicking here.
-Story by Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley