All streaks eventually come to an end.
Jason Corliss stopped the American-Canadian Tour’s streak of first-time winners at five Saturday night, outdueling DJ Shaw to win the Midsummer Classic 250 at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
And though Corliss’ vision was obscured in the closing laps, the Vermonter had no need for clarity to see the $10,000 pot of gold ahead.
Corliss started fourth, but the Danville, Vt. veteran only found the front in the final fifty laps. Ryan Kuhn and local favorite Jeff Marshall traded the lead early with DJ Shaw and Nick Sweet. Sweet led the lion’s share of the race’s first half. But as the 2016 ACT Tour champion ran into trouble, Shaw rose to the occasion.
Shaw, a five-time Pro All Stars Series champion, led 84 laps around the New Hampshire quarter-mile. But Shaw’s bid for a second ACT Tour win was hampered by Corliss, who poked his nose out front for the first time on lap 224. Shaw battled back, but Corliss moved back to the point on lap 237.
With only a few laps left, Corliss appeared to have the edge on Shaw.
But earlier damage to Corliss’ car nearly unraveled his evening when the car’s hood broke free and flipped back into the windshield. With his vision blocked, Corliss held steady on the inside. Shaw inched ahead, but Corliss willed his car to the finish line, edging out Shaw to pick up his fifth career ACT Tour win.
Tom Carey III started 30th but drove his way to third at the checkers, with Ryan Kuhn fourth. Marshall, who spent several laps at the point, finished fifth, his second top-five in two Tour starts this year.
Christopher Pelkey, the Thunder Road weekly Late Model point leader, was one lap down in sixth. Derek Gluchacki was seventh, followed by Ben Rowe and Shawn Swallow. Mark Jenison, who led the opening lap from the pole, finished a strong tenth.
The third running of the $10,000-to-win summer spectacular was unkind to its prior victors. Wayne Helliwell, Jr., the 2019 winner, exited the race with just over fifty laps remaining. Defending winner Dillon Moltz had the shortest night, with a battery issue ending his evening only 16 laps in.
Reigning ACT Tour champ Jimmy Hebert suffered another stroke of bad luck, dropping out early with suspension issues of his own.
Shaw may have missed out on the jackpot, but slipped ahead of “TC3” to take the Tour points lead by one marker over the Massachusetts racer. Rowe remains third with Gluchacki fourth in the standings.
Corliss has not raced for Tour points since 2017, when he picked up top rookie honors. Driving for car owner Chris Burnett, in a chassis formerly piloted by multi-time Tour champion Brian Hoar, Corliss has been a terror at Thunder Road. Corliss has twenty-four Late Model wins at ACT’s home track, including his other four Tour wins and three of the last four Vermont Milk Bowls. The two-time defending “King of the Road” is second in the weekly standings with four feature wins this season.
In his only other Tour appearance this year, Corliss was chasing a fourth straight Community Bank N.A. 150 win. A mid-race wreck eliminated Corliss from contention, ending that streak at three. Thunder Road regular Brooks Clark took the win, starting a streak of first-time ACT Tour winners.
Saturday night, Corliss ended that streak. But another streak remains; excluding Wayne Helliwell’s non-points wins at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in April, there have been no repeat winners on the Tour this year.
Corliss may have to wait until September’s Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road to end that streak himself.
Official Results, ACT Tour Midsummer Classic 250 at White Mountain Motorsports Park:
1. (66VT) Jason Corliss
2. (04NH) DJ Shaw
3. (5MA) Tom Carey III
4. (72MA) Ryan Kuhn
5. (32NH) Jeff Marshall
6. (64VT) Christopher Pelkey
7. (03MA) Derek Gluchacki
8. (4ME) Ben Rowe
9. (04NH) Shawn Swallow
10. (22RI) Mark Jenison
11. (36NH) Erick Sands
12. (00NH) Jimmy Renfrew, Jr.
13. (88VT) Nick Sweet
14. (0VT) Scott Dragon
15. (10NH) Bryan Mason
16. (49NH) Matt Anderson
17. (03NH) Jason Kenison
18. (2VT) Stephen Donahue
19. (27NH) Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
20. (61NH) Ryan Olsen
21. (22VT) Peyton Lanphear
22. (47NH) Brockton Davis
23. (15ME) Mike Hopkins
24. (21VT) Reilly Lanphear
25. (78NH) Quinny Welch
26. (74ME) Justin Eldridge
27. (39VT) Mike Foster
28. (27NC) Robby Gordon Douglas
29. (4NH) Jamie Swallow, Jr.
30. (58VT) Jimmy Hebert
31. (5ME) Dillon Moltz