Contributed by: ACT Staff
Unbuckled: Getting To Know Jason Corliss
Driver of the #61 Newton Pellet Chevrolet
Hometown: Barre, VT
2012: Finished 9th Overall in Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman Standings
What are your favorite hobbies in the off-season?
I work on racecars for a lot of the off-season, but I also watch a lot of sports and hang out with family and friends.
What do you do for work?
I work at Milton Cat in Richmond. I work in the parts department, so I pretty much do anything having to do with parts and product support.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?I would say winning the 2008 Street Stock Championship. It was a really close point battle, and it took a lot of hard work and effort to get it. It basically taught me the right way to point race at an early age of racing. I only won the championship by one point in the final event, so it was pretty cool.
Big Plans for 2013?
We’ve got an ACT Late Model that is owned by Chris Burnett, and we plan on running the Thunder Road point schedule races with it. We would love to run more, but it all depends on sponsorship funding. Our plan right now though is to run the point-counting events at Thunder Road come hell or high water!
What is the state of your car currently?
We’ve still got the Tiger from last year. The motor is out of it and we’re probably going to get it ready and have it as a part-time car for White Mountain. The Late Model is almost all set to go, the body is getting painted this weekend. Burnett Motorsports bought it from Jess Ovitt who drove the #97 car at Canaan Fair Speedway. It’s a former Joey Laquerre car built by Race Basics.
What race are you looking forward to the most in 2013?
For me it would be the Memorial Day race because that’s the first planned start for the Late Model. If we exceed our funding expectations we might try to do the Merchants Bank 150 but I’m not sure about that. I just can’t wait to try to get qualified for the 100-lap start at Memorial Day. It’s also my birthday weekend so it will be big!
What was the highlight of the 2012 season for you?
I won the June 17 Tiger feature this year, and I would say that was definitely the biggest highlight of 2012. We held off Bobby Therrien who came from deep in the pack for the final five laps. Easier said than done!
Do you have a hero? Someone you idolize as a racecar driver or try to emulate?
In NASCAR I really idolize Alan Kulwicki based on his work ethic. He was an owner/driver and he did everything himself, and it’s a model I try to strive to be like. He didn’t do anything unless he did it himself and worked hard at it.
Who is your biggest fan at the track?
I’d say my whole crew, my girlfriend, and my father in particular. My Dad has been with me from the start and got me into it. But my girlfriend and my whole crew are all there every week. They are huge supporters.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I was a big basketball player at Twinfield High School. I got a Vermont Principle Association award for conduct on and off the court, and just being a good person I guess. I was on the Central Vermont All Stars and the Senior All Star Team. I grew up with my brother being really into basketball, so I got it from him. Racing and basketball were my two big passions and then when I went to college I switched gears and decided to work instead of play basketball so that I could race.
How did you start racing?
My father raced one year in the Street Stocks when he was younger and always was a big race fan. After that he started helping on Cris Michaud’s crew and got me involved with Cris, too. I worked on his Late Model for a few years and then in 2005 we ran our own Street Stock because I wanted to drive and it took off from there.
Tell me about your family?
They’re all big race fans. My sister lives in Mass and she actually use to work for ACT for a year doing an internship. She’s been around racing a long time, and helped Cris for a long time, too. My father was why I got into racing in the first place, my mother is a big fan, and I have a brother who is a huge race fan of mine and really into hunting and fishing.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully racing Late Models full time, which I hope to this year. I definitely hope within five years we’ve got a program that can contend for championships and be thought of as a contender right out of the gate. These first few years will be hard getting our feet on the ground and getting funding, but I hope in five years we will be in a place where we can show up at the racetrack and know we can win races and championships