2021 Triple Crown Series #3 at Thunder Road Speedbowl

Thunder Road Star Wins $10,000 Race With Hood On Windshield

Thunder Road Star Wins $10,000 Race With Hood On Windshield

Jason Corliss won the ACT Midsummer Classic 250 at White Mountain Motorsports Park despite driving the final four laps with his hood on his windshield.

Aug 4, 2021 by Brandon Paul
Thunder Road Star Wins $10,000 Race With Hood On Windshield

Late Model driver Jason Corliss is best known for his success at Thunder Road Speedbowl, but on Saturday night he created an unforgettable moment for those in attendance at White Mountain Motorsports Park. The Barre, Vermont native drove the final four laps of the race with his hood on his windshield and crossed the finish line first to collect a $10,000 payday. 

As a result of contact with Nick Sweet earlier in the race, the hood pins on Corliss' No. 66 ACT Late Model came undone while leading the Midsummer Classic 250 with only four laps remaining. When the hood pins came undone, the hood flew up onto the windshield and blocked his view. 

His instant reaction was to try to find a spot where he could see out the front windshield. Unfortunately for him, it was a complete blackout. 

"The hood comes up and it's like, 'Shit, how are we going to overcome this?' You see guys over the years and when the hood comes up they can see underneath the crown," Corliss said.  "They kind of duck their head down a little bit and they have a little bit of vision, and they try to drive for a little bit until they get black flagged or pull it in the pits. So as soon as the hood comes up, I'm like, 'Alright, where can I see?' It was instantly apparent that there was nowhere to see, the entire windshield was blocked."

As the hood blocked Corliss' view, DJ Shaw attempted to take advantage and powered to the outside to battle for the race lead. The two drivers raced side-by-side for the final three laps before making slight contact in turn three on the final lap. That contact was just enough to give Corliss the momentum off of turn four and a victory he'll remember for a long time. 

"It was big, big for many reasons. Definitely memorable because of all the events that took place in the last 30 laps," he said. "It's not as big as a Milk Bowl or a race like that, but it's big. I think it's right behind the Milk Bowl wins that we have because of the talent that was there. There were a lot of good cars and good competition there, and the fact that it's the first really big race we've won outside of Thunder Road. It was nice to check that box and have a special memory of a big race outside of Thunder Road."

While the win will serve as memory for many years, it was a different type of memory that kept Corliss going in the right direction during the final laps. After racing 246 laps around the tight, quarter-mile bullring, he had built up a good feel for how to get around White Mountain Motorsports Park. 

"Of course, you build up some muscle memory," Corliss stated. "I kind of looked out the left side just ahead of the window net by the side mirror and I looked over and I could see the white line. I couldn't really see it too far ahead of me, but just a tiny bit. I made it through three and four and made it to turn one, so I'm like, 'Shit, I've made it this far so I'm just going to keep going.'

"I think it was more the muscle memory, the little bit of vision I had out the left side and then the hearing queues. You kind of know the pitch of the engine and how far you are on the straightaway based on RPMs and stuff. When DJ finally got to the outside of me, at least on the straightaways, I think it helped me a little bit make sure I wasn't too shallow or too high on the straightaways. That helped a little bit too, but once I got to the corner I wasn't looking right, I was looking left trying to get to the white line."

When the hood came up on Corliss' race car, it was his crew chief Andrew Hill that first noticed it while standing in turn three. Hill relayed the information to spotter Chris Burnett, who then attempted to guide his driver to the finish line. 

"My spotter comes on and starts directing me where to go. It was hilarious. He was yelling, 'Alright, straight, straight. Alright, corner, turn, turn.' He was definitely screaming. I don't think I was necessarily listening. I heard what he was saying, but honestly I don't think it really did a lot. He was doing everything he could, kudos to him. Somehow, someway we collectively got to the finish."

As Corliss took home the trophy and the $10,000 check, the fans leaving White Mountain left the race track having experienced one of the most memorable ACT races in recent history. Being part of a race like that, even if it did come with a few boos, is something that Corliss enjoys.

"It's awesome, it really is. I've definitely been hearing more boos this year than, actually I've never really heard boos before. This year at Thunder Road I'm beginning to hear more and more creep in. I take that as a good thing and take it in stride. And then obviously some contact with a guy (DJ Shaw) who doesn't live too far from White Mountain and grew up racing there, I knew I was going to get more boos there. As long as the people are engaged and excited about the show, that's what's good for short track racing."

With only a few days to repair body parts on his No. 66 Late Model, Corliss and team are back at work this week preparing for Thursday night's Late Model feature at Thunder Road Speedbowl. Corliss, the two-time defending "King of the Road" track champion, currently sits just 27 points back of Christopher Pelkey in the point standings. 

Every race at Thunder Road, including Thursday night's action, can be viewed exclusively on FloRacing.