Story By: AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – NORTH WOODSTOCK, NH – Barre, VT’s Jason Corliss got the upper hand for one of the most memorable finishes in recent American-Canadian Tour (ACT) history at the Midsummer Classic 250 on Saturday, July 31.
Driving the final four laps with almost no frontal vision after the hood flew up on his #66VT Burnett Motorsports Ford, Corliss still beat Center Conway, NH’s D.J. Shaw and New Salem, MA’s Tom Carey III off the final corner to win the $10,000 top prize by just 0.065 seconds at North Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park.
It was the fifth ACT Late Model Tour win for Corliss in his career — but the first such win outside his home track of Thunder Road. Corliss became the seventh different winner in seven point-counting ACT Tour events this year after an unforgettable home stretch in the year’s longest, richest event.
The eventual winner spent the first half of the event hanging around the top-five as other top ACT runners took turns at the front. East Bridgewater, MA’s Ryan Kuhn and Barre, VT’s Nick Sweet swapped the lead back and forth early before Sweet asserted command. Sweet paced the field through several cautions, including one at lap 78 that became the race’s mandatory fuel stop.
The excitement hit overdrive on lap 123 when the sixth yellow flew after Wayne Helliwell Jr. came to a halt with a flat tire. Most of the contenders used this time to put at least two fresh tires on their cars, including Shaw, Corliss, Kuhn, Ben Rowe, Chris Pelkey, and polesitter Mark Jenison. Sweet, Jeff Marshall, Ryan Olsen, and Tom Carey III were the only drivers on the lead lap who stayed out.
Marshall got the lead from Sweet on a lap-127 restart while Shaw quickly proved the value of new rubber, slicing from mid-pack to take the lead himself nine laps later with Corliss not far behind. At the ninth caution on lap 139, Sweet, Carey, and Olsen finally headed to the pits. Marshall stubbornly remained out and actually got the lead back from Shaw on two separate restarts. The White Mountain regular could not hold on, though, as Shaw opened things up over a long green-flag run from laps 168 to 220.
The next twist came with 30 laps to go after Bryan Mason and Shawn Swallow tangled in turn one for caution number 13. Shaw, Corliss, and Sweet lined up nose-to-tail on the inside with lapped cars to their outside. Corliss surged on the restart, quickly clearing Christopher Pelkey and sticking his nose underneath Shaw. Sweet then joined the party, going inside both as they came to complete lap 222. The trio ran nearly an entire lap three-wide before Sweet ran out of real estate and spun coming off turn four.
Sweet was able to get his car going with no yellow as Corliss cleared Shaw for the lead. Corliss was starting to edge away as they came up on Sweet, but had trouble getting around his fellow Barre driver, allowing Shaw to take the top spot back with 18 laps to go.
The 14th and final caution on lap 236 for Ben Rowe’s flat tire set up the final act. Corliss got the break on the restart, and after Shaw held with him for several circuits, the Thunder Road champion opened a small gap. But with four laps to go, the hood pins broke on the Corliss car, sending the hood flying up and almost completely blocking the driver’s view of the track.
Corliss understandably hesitated slightly, which let Shaw jump to the outside and lead laps 248 and 249 by a nose. At the same time, Carey had raced into the picture, with the three taking the white flag under a blanket. Despite his lack of sight, Corliss kept digging. As they came into turn three for the final time, Corliss and Shaw made slight contact, sending both sliding up the track. Carey tried to get to the inside but was unable to, and Corliss got on the gas soon enough to beat Shaw by about two feet.
Shaw’s runner-up result was still enough to unofficially give him the points lead by a single marker over Carey, who finished third after starting 30th. Kuhn was strong the whole night and ended up fourth. Marshall finally changed right-side tires at the lap-220 caution but was only able to get to fifth, the final car on the lead lap. Pelkey, Derek Gluchacki, Rowe, Swallow, and Jenison rounded out the top-10.
After knocking on the door for the entire season, Littleton, NH’s Ryan Ware finally broke through to get his first career Wells River Chevrolet Flying Tiger victory. Marshfield, VT’s Matthew Potter drove out to an early lead in the 35-lap feature while Ware and Tanner Woodard tried to get around Matthew’s uncle Michael. Ware made it work first, going to Mike Potter’s outside to take the second spot on lap eight.
Ware then ran down the younger Potter and went to his inside at the halfway point. As the duo entered turn one with 18 laps complete, they touched a little, and both got sideways. Ware recovered first and made his way to the lead. Point leader Jason Woodard followed Ware around Potter and chased him the rest of the way, but Ware could not be swayed and earned the win in a caution-free race.
Waterbury Center, VT’s Woodard finished second, keeping his perfect streak of podium finishes this season alive. East Thetford, VT’s Brandon Gray beat out Grand Isle, VT’s Mike Billado for third after a late battle. Shane Sicard, Stephen Martin, Michael Martin, Michael Clark, Colin Cornell, and Tanner Woodard completed the top-10.
North Woodstock, NH’s Jillian Baumgardner was also a first-time winner in the Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Mini’s. Baumgardner was in her own zip code when Tyler Thompson cut a right-rear tire to bring out the caution with six circuits left in the 25-lap feature. That allowed Todd Derrington, point leader Luke Shannon, and Nick Pilotte — all of them feature winners this year — to close right up to the teenage leader.
Shannon and Pilotte disposed of of Derrington on the restart. Shannon then looked to Baumgardner’s outside, but Pilotte filled the hole inside, and eventually cleared Shannon for second with a lap to go. Pilotte then made a last-ditch effort on the outside groove but ran out of time as Baumgardner scored the crowd-pleasing victory.
Jefferson, NH’s Pilotte was second with Groveton, NH’s Shannon third. Derrington, Erin Aiken, Scott Senecal, Donnie Baumgardner, Chris Moulton, Adam Sicard, and Gavin McGinnis also earned top-10 finishes.
Gilmanton, NH’s Thomas Smithers VI went back-to-back in the Dads 4 By Tool and Supply Kids Trucks. Smithers came from the back of the pack to roll around the outside of Owen Rogers for the lead just before halfway in the 15-lap feature. The youngster set sail from there to pick up his division-leading fifth win of the season.
Waterford, VT’s McKenna Merchant beat Rogers by a paint job for second place. Kyle Goodbout and Logan Farnsworth followed them across the finish line.
The ACT Late Model Tour goes to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, August 28. The 125-lap event is part of the “Night Before the Oxford 250” program. The event schedule and pricing are to be announced.
White Mountain Motorsports Park continues its weekly racing program next Saturday, August 7 at 6:00pm. The Arnolds Wayside Diner Dwarf Cars take center stage for their annual 50-lap special. They’re joined by a full card of championship action for the Foley Oil & Propane Late Models, Wells River Chevrolet Flying Tigers, and Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Mini’s. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).
WHITE MOUNTAIN MOTORSPORTS PARK — N. Woodstock, NH
MIDSUMMER CLASSIC 250
SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2021
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 4 ) Jason Corliss ( 66VT ) , Barre, VT , 250 Laps
2. ( 11 ) D.J. Shaw ( 04VT ) , Center Conway, NH , 250 Laps
3. ( 30 ) Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) , New Salem, MA , 250 Laps
4. ( 3 ) Ryan Kuhn ( 72MA ) , E. Bridgewater, MA , 250 Laps
5. ( 27 ) Jeff Marshall ( 32NH ) , Gilman, VT , 250 Laps
6. ( 7 ) Christopher Pelkey ( 64VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 249 Laps
7. ( 21 ) Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) , North Dartmouth, MA , 249 Laps
8. ( 9 ) Ben Rowe ( 4ME ) , Turner, ME , 249 Laps
9. ( 20 ) #Shawn Swallow ( 04NH ) , Lancaster, NH , 249 Laps
10. ( 1 ) Mark Jenison ( 22RI ) , Warwick, RI , 249 Laps
11. ( 8 ) #Erick Sands ( 36NH ) , Derry, NH , 248 Laps
12. ( 13 ) Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ( 00NH ) , Candia, NH , 248 Laps
13. ( 2 ) Nick Sweet ( 88VT ) , Barre, VT , 248 Laps
14. ( 15 ) Scott Dragon ( 0VT ) , Milton, VT , 247 Laps
15. ( 6 ) Bryan Mason ( 10NH ) , Milan, NH , 247 Laps
16. ( 24 ) Matt Anderson ( 49NH ) , Franklin, NH , 246 Laps
17. ( 16 ) Jason Kenison ( 03NH ) , Groveton, NH , 246 Laps
18. ( 19 ) Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 212 Laps
19. ( 5 ) Wayne Helliwell Jr. ( 27NH ) , Dover, NH , 197 Laps
20. ( 23 ) Ryan Olsen ( 61NH ) , Bath, NH , 194 Laps
21. ( 31 ) Peyton Lanphear ( 22VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 157 Laps
22. ( 14 ) Brockton Davis ( 47NH ) , Whitefield, NH , 156 Laps
23. ( 17 ) Mike Hopkins ( 15ME ) , Hermon, ME , 155 Laps
24. ( 22 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 133 Laps
25. ( 18 ) Quinten Welch ( 78NH ) , Groveton, NH , 122 Laps
26. ( 29 ) Justin Eldridge ( 74ME ) , Tuftonboro, NH , 78 Laps
27. ( 26 ) Mike Foster ( 39VT ) , Williston, VT , 65 Laps
28. ( 25 ) Robby Gordon Douglas ( 27NC ) , Charlotte, NC , 49 Laps
29. ( 28 ) Jamie Swallow Jr. ( 4NH ) , Lancaster, NH , 39 Laps
30. ( 10 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 18 Laps
31. ( 12 ) Dillon Moltz ( 5ME ) , New Sharon, ME , 16 Laps
Lap Leaders: Mark Jenison, 1; Ryan Kuhn, 2-8; Nick Sweet, 9-16; Ryan Kuhn, 17-23; Sweet, 24-127; Jeff Marshall, 128-135; D.J. Shaw, 136-139; Marshall, 140-141; Shaw, 142-158; Marshall, 159-167; Shaw, 168-223; Jason Corliss, 224-231; Shaw, 232-236; Corliss, 237-247; Shaw, 248-249; Corliss, 250. (15 lead changes among 6 drivers)
Time of Race: 2 hours, 14 minutes, 16 seconds Margin of Victory: 0.065 seconds
Cautions: 14 (laps 15, 38, 49, 78, 80, 123, 123, 127, 139, 157, 158, 167, 220, 236)
Heat Winners: Ben Rowe, D.J. Shaw, Ryan Kuhn
Consi Winners: Bryan Mason, Jason Corliss
WELLS RIVER CHEVROLET FLYING TIGERS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Ryan Ware ( 32VT ) East Burke, VT
2. Jason Woodard ( 68VT ) Waterbury Ctr., VT
3. Brandon Gray ( 00VT ) Thetford, VT
4. Mike Billado ( 8VT ) Grand Isle, VT
5. Shane Sicard ( 4NH ) Barton, VT
6. Stephen Martin ( 9VT ) Craftsbury Common, VT
7. Michael Martin ( 01VT ) Craftsbury Common, VT
8. Michael Clark ( 2VT ) Littleton, NH
9. Colin Cornell ( 54VT ) E. Burke, VT
10. #Tanner Woodard ( 68NH ) Waterbury Ctr., VT
11. Matthew Potter ( 23VT ) Marshfield, VT
12. Michael Potter ( 23NH ) Plainfield, VT
13. Logan Powers ( 31VT ) Middlesex, VT
14. Keegan Lamson ( 55NH ) Berlin, VT
15. David Ofsuryk ( 73CT ) Holland, VT
WOODSVILLE GUARANTY SAVINGS BANK STRICTLY STOCK MINI’S
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Jillian Baumgardner ( 14 ) N. Woodstock, NH
2. Nick Pillotte ( 52 ) Jefferson, NH
3. #Luke Shannon ( 13 ) Groveton, NH
4. Todd Derrington ( 57 ) Bethlehem, NH
5. Erin Aiken ( 33 )
6. Scott Senecal ( 1 ) Lisbon, NH
7. #Donnie Baumgardner ( 4 ) N. Woodstock, NH
8. #Chris Moulton ( 15 ) Pepperell, MA
9. Adam Sicard ( 16 ) Barton, VT
10. Gavin McGinnis ( 10 ) St. Johnsbury, VT
11. Tyler Thompson ( 51 ) Littleton, NH
12. #James Knights ( 02 ) Littleton, NH
13. Jack Hayes ( 09 ) Littleton, NH
14. Jacob Ailes ( 72 ) St. Johnsbury, VT
15. Michael M. Smith Jr. ( 22X ) West Burke, VT
16. #Riley Taylor ( 43 ) St. Johnsbury, VT
17. Jacob Ailes ( 91 ) Gilmanton, NH
18. Dave Driscoll ( 19 ) N. Woodstock, NH
DAD’S 4 BY TOOL & SUPPLY KIDS TRUCKS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Thomas Smithers, VI ( 24 ) Gilmanton, NH
2. McKenna Merchant ( 99 ) Waterford, VT
3. Owen Rogers ( 4 ) Glover, VT
4. Kyle Goodbout ( 90 ) Lincoln, NH
5. Logan Farnsworth ( 22 ) St. Johnsbury, VT
6. Hayley Corum ( 10 ) Gilmanton, NH
7. Austin Sicard ( 01 ) Gilmanton, NH