Kaiden Fisher Wins Street Stock Championship at Thunder Road
Not yet 14 years old, Makes Him Youngest Champion in Track’s History
Barre, VT — Barre’s Jason Corliss officially became a three-time “King of the Road” at Efficiency Vermont Championship Night on Friday, September 17. Corliss finished 10th in the 62-lap weekly racing season finale to secure his third straight Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model title despite Graniteville’s Christopher Pelkey dominating the event for his third win of the season.
The feat puts Corliss in the Thunder Road record books as only the third driver to “three-peat” in the track’s 62-year history. He joins Chuck Beede (1992-94) and Derrick O’Donnell (2013-15) as drivers winning three track headline division championships in a row.
Pelkey started on the pole for the feature after some rough outings in recent weeks and immediately checked out from the pack. Corliss was boxed in the back during the early stages, then got a scare on lap 13 when Tyler Cahoon and Darrell Morin got together battling for fourth. Cahoon spun in turn two, starting a six-car melee that also included Morin, Kyle Pembroke, Trampas Demers, Marcel J. Gravel, and Scott Dragon.
Corliss took evasive action to miss the carnage, then watched as Morin was carted to the pits on the back of a tow truck and Phil Scott dropped out with a fluid leak. That officially clinched the title for Corliss, who could only lose the point lead with a last-place finish combined with a Pelkey win.
Despite his title hopes being gone, Pelkey continued holding up his end of the bargain by running off and hiding after the race resumed. The field sliced and diced behind him with Brendan Moodie getting stronger as the green flag run got longer. Moodie took the second spot from Chris Roberts with 15 laps to go, with Cahoon, who had fireballed through the field after his crash, moving into third a few laps later.
Cooper Bouchard’s solo turn-two spin with three circuits remaining set up a three-lap dash to the finish. Pelkey again took care of business on the restart with Moodie able to wedge down in front of Cahoon. That was all she wrote for the feature as Pelkey took his fourth career victory. Corliss had spent the final 49 laps lounging in the back half of the field but knew all the while that he was about to wear the crown once again.
Wolcott’s Moodie came in second for the fourth time this year while Cahoon had his season-best finish of third. Gravel and Pembroke also came back from the lap-13 crash to take fourth and fifth. Roberts, Brandon Lanphear, Eric Chase, Bobby Therrien, and Corliss rounded out the top-10. Lanphear is the 2021 Late Model Rookie of the Year.
Grand Isle’s Mike Billado won the battle in the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers while Craftsbury Common’s Mike Martin won the war. Billado started on the outside pole for the 40-lap finale and immediately took the lead from Phil Potvin. He and Sam Caron went on a two-car breakaway while Martin, who entered the feature 13 points ahead of son Stephen, was able to find a way forward from the 13th position. Mike Martin eventually settled into the fifth spot while Stephen remained mired in traffic.
Stephen finally caught a break when Burt Spooner III spun entering turn three to bring out the caution with 12 laps to go. As Brandon Gray and Logan Powers got underneath Sam Caron and put the heat on Billado for the lead, Stephen Martin went on a mission, eventually putting a nose inside Kelsea Woodard for eighth on the backstretch. The two made contact coming into the next turn with Woodard looping it for another caution on lap 35.
Mike Martin lined up sixth for the final restart with Stephen eighth. The younger Martin got to the inside first, and after Gray cut a tire trying to hang with Billado on the high line, the field scrambled again coming to the white flag. Billado led them all to the checkered for his 12th career win. Stephen Martin got up to fifth in his late charge, but while Mike Martin slid to seventh in the final rundown, it was still enough to win the Flying Tiger championship by nine points.
Milton’s Caron, who fell back as far as fifth, bounced back to retake second from Middlesex’s Powers in the final corner. Bryan Wall came home fourth while Jason Pelkey was sandwiched between the two Martins in sixth. Colin Cornell, Justin Prescott, and Cameron Ouellette completed the top-10. Gray’s late misfortune allowed Waterbury Center’s Tanner Woodard to clinch the Rookie of the Year title.
Williamstown’s Kyle MacAskill got a big break with three laps to go for his second RK Miles Street Stock win of the season. Lyndonville’s Dean Switser Jr. was way out in front of the 25-lap feature when Michael Gay went around coming into turn one with three circuits remaining. Once the track was clear, the field lined up for a restart with MacAskill third behind Switser and polesitter Scott Weston.
However, after everyone had crossed over into columns of two, Switser’s car shut down and he could not restart it. Switser was pushed back to the pit area, and by rule, the line of cars behind him pulled up. That handed the lead to MacAskill, who ran away from there to get the victory.
Groton’s Luke Peters also took advantage of the late shuffle to have a season-best runner-up finish. Barre’s Jeffrey Martin caught Weston on the final lap for third. Jesse Laquerre, Josh Lovely, Kyler Davis, Tommy Smith, Taylor Hoar, and Todd Raymo were fifth through 10th.
Shelburne’s Kaiden Fisher ran a safe race to finish 11th, which was more than enough to officially become the RK Miles Street Stock champion. Fisher, who turns 14 later this month, is now the youngest champion in Thunder Road history. Milton’s Trevor Jaques is the Street Stock Rookie of the Year.
Cody Hodge of Orleans became the seventh first-time winner of the year in the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warrior. Hodge started 16th for the 20-lap feature in his first Thunder Road outing this season and rocketed through the field. After he passed Bill O’Connor for the second spot on the 11th circuit, O’Connor tried to take back the spot entering turn three but ended up tangled with Taylor Sayers to draw the yellow.
That put Hodge alongside polesitter Nick Copping for the restart, and he immediately jumped out to the lead. Bert Duffy was able to get to Hodge’s rear bumper in the closing laps but didn’t have enough to get past him.
Milton’s Duffy was second with Northfield’s Josh Vilbrin third. Nate “Tater” Brien, Copping, “Flyin’” Fred Fleury, O’Connor, Neal “Tetanus” Foster, Sayers, and Rodney Campbell chased them across the finish line.
Thunder Road concludes its 2021 season at Vermont Milk Bowl Weekend from Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 3. The racing festival begins with Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Milk Bowl Friday featuring the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Street Stocks, PASS Modifieds, North East Mini Stock Tour, and Honey Badger Street Stock Series.
Saturday is Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day with the three-segment Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models on Sunday. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, RK Miles Street Stocks, Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors, and Dads 4 By Tool & Supply Kids Trucks will also be in action throughout the weekend.
Three-day general admission tickets are $50 for adults and $15 for kids ages 6-12. There are also single-day ticket options. Advance tickets are available at www.happsnow.com/event/thunder-road-speedbowl. The entire weekend of racing will be televised live on FloRacing for those with a paid subscription.
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also get updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ThunderRoadVT.
Posted: to Racing News on Sat, Sep 18, 2021
Updated: Sat, Sep 18, 2021