CROSSED FLAGS IN THE AIR
EDMONTON, AB. (August 4) - The 10th anniversary celebrations of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series have been a little muted this year.  "We're at the halfway point of our season.  Unfortunately half of our scheduled races have been wiped out by mother nature." 


HOPING FOR SUNNY WEATHER THE LAST HALF OF THE SEASON

Despite the rainouts, NPP Series announcer and media relations director Gord Craig remains positive looking at the last half of the 2011 season.  "It's go or go home time for some race teams.  The championship is far from being decided at this point.  Race fans in Edmonton and Lethbridge will be seeing some hard fought events to wrap up our season."  Stony Plain Alberta's Mike Tom sits atop the NPP Late Model Series point standings.  "We have a bit of a point cushion heading into the next race in Edmonton (52 points) but that cushion can be chewed up pretty quick if we have an off night."  This is the first time the driver of the Hinton Oilfield Services #55 Chevrolet has been the point leader. 


TOM JOINED THE NPP SERIES IN 2004 

"It's a very competitive group of racers.  You take the wins when you can get them."  Tom, who has finished second in the NPP Championship points chase twice (2010 & 2005), has won four consecutive NPP Series Feature events.  

Two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy sits second in the points chase at the halfway point of the season.  "It's a race by race deal now.  We have to win the next one.  It's as simple as that." 


KENNEDY READY FOR THE STRETCH RUN

The Edson, Alberta driver continues to recover from four cracked ribs after his Lucas Oil #81 Dodge had an encounter with the back straight wall in Edmonton last month.  "I'm still pretty sore but the doctors say I'll be ready to go."  The Edson, Alberta competitor won the inaugural NPP Late Model Series points championship back in 2001 and again in 2006.  

Whitecourt Alberta's Kevin Wheeler sits third in the NPP Series Championship points chase and says a victory in Edmonton would be a huge boost.  "It would be nice to win on the home track.  We have won elsewhere (Washington and Lethbridge) but for some reason we keep coming up a little short here." 


WHEELER WANTS WIN

The driver of the KW Mechanical Services #3 Dodge has three second place finishes in his last five appearances in Edmonton.  "Getting wins in this Series is very tough. Just getting to the podium is tough.  As long as we are having fun that's the bottom line and right now we are having a blast racing. The wins will come."

NEXT NPP SERIES RACE EVENT
Saturday, August 20th
Castrol Raceway - Edmonton, Alberta

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FIVE IN A ROW FOR FIFTY-FIVE
EDMONTON, AB. (August 22) - Mike Tom continues to inch closer to his first ever Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series Championship. The current season point leader won his heat race plus the all important Feature event Saturday night at Castrol Raceway.  Tom's fifth consecutive victory also set a brand new NPP Series record.


TOM HOLDS OFF WHEELER IN HEAT RACE ACTION

"In the back of my mind I'm thinking it (winning streak) can never continue.  There's too many competitive drivers in this series."  The driver of the Enerbuilt Technologies #55 Chevrolet held off a late race charge from Kevin Wheeler to claim the checkered flag.  "Winning five in a row is insane!"  The Stony Plain, Alberta driver has a comfortable 70 point lead in the standings with two races remaining in the 2011 season.  Kevin Wheeler and his KW Mechanical #3 Dodge looked to be gaining on Tom the final few laps of the Feature but was pleased with his second place finish.  "I'm definitely happy with second considering the alternative."  The Whitecourt, Alberta driver narrowly missed colliding with pole sitter Kelvin Bell who spun early the Feature.  "I thought my night was going to be over for sure when Kelvin spun.  I nicked him when I went by.  Definitely some luck on our part."  No yellow flag was thrown for Bell who fought back for a third place finish and moved into the top ten in points for the first time this season. 


KELVIN BELL LEADS THE FIELD TO GREEN IN THE FEATURE

Wheeler's second place finish moved him past two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy to take over second place in the 2011 NPP Series points chase.  Kennedy was chasing motor issues all night.  "It wasn't a good night," sighs the driver of the Lucas Oil #81 Dodge, "we had some plug wires come off in the heat (finished last).  We started off strong in the Feature but the motor started going away the last few laps." Kennedy wrapped up the night in fourth just ahead of his daughter Crystal who finished fifth.


FATHER & DAUGHTER BATTLED THE ENTIRE FEATURE
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(photos: STP RACING MEMORIES)

The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series travels to Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge, Alberta for the September long weekend.  The southern Alberta race track hosts the Lucas Oil NPP Season Championship race plus the 2011 Oilmen's Classic.

NPP RACE NOTES
- no NPP Features have been won from the pole position this season. (1 in 2010 / 3 in 2009)
- Kevin Wheeler ran his first 'A' Dash of the season Saturday night and finished 3rd. 
- Crystal Kennedy scored her second top-five of the season after finishing fifth in the Feature Saturday night.
- tough night for two drivers vying for 2011 NPP Rookie of the Year honors.  Curtis Ellis and Kary Rogers missed the Feature due to engine problems.
- Mike Tom (point leader), Crystal Kennedy (5th), Travis Day (8th) and Ryan Ellis (10th) were the only drivers to leave Edmonton holding onto their position in the point standings.
- Tom has averaged 207 points/event this season.  With two races to go, Tom needs 379 points to clinch the 2011 NPP Championship or an average of 189.5 points/night at the September 3rd & 4th race weekend in Lethbridge.       

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BATTLE AT THE BRIDGE
EDMONTON, AB. (August 30)  - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series wraps up its 10th anniversary season this long holiday weekend.  For the first time in NPP Series history, the final race of the season will be held in Lethbridge Alberta.  "It's a big honor for us to hold this event," says James Hadnagy, president of Bridge County Raceway, "this is our 20th anniversary season here, so to have the NPP Series hold its championship race at our track means a lot." 


SERIES DRIVERS HIT THE 'BIG OVAL' THIS WEEKEND

Eight drivers are still mathematically able to win the 2011 NPP Series championship heading into this weekends event.  Southern Alberta race fans are in for two incredible nights of racing on the 'big oval'.  Not only is it championship weekend for NPP Series competitors, the 18th annual Oilmen's Classic will also be contested.Current NPP Series point leader Mike Tom is trying to remain focused heading into the final weekend of the season.  "We're keeping our head in the game," says the driver of the #55 Enerbuilt Technologies Chevrolet, "you can't get too wound up because that's when stuff happens." 


TOM IS STEERING TOWARDS FIRST NPP CHAMPIONSHIP

Tom, who is on a record five-race winning streak, has yet to register a win in seven appearances at Bridge County Raceway.  Tom does have three second place finishes.  Two of those finishes took place on long weekends (September 2007 and May 2009).  "We have done well in Lethbridge when we haven't had parts failures."  Tom, who is the defending Oilmen's Classic champion, has finished second in the NPP Series Championship points chase twice (2005 and 2010)

Whitecourt, Alberta's Kevin Wheeler sits second in the standings just 70 points behind Tom.  Wheeler, who hasn't been this far up in the standings since May of 2007, can't wait for the long weekend to arrive.  "Definitely pumped for this weekend," indicates the driver of #3 KW Mechanical Services Dodge, "it's a big, wide open track and fun place to run."  Wheeler scored his first ever Feature event win at Bridge County Raceways' Sunday night show on the 2007 September long weekend. 

CHAMPIONSHIP HOPEFUL HEADING INTO LETHBRIDGE

Wheeler has several goals for this long weekend.  "I have to get to the 'A' Dash both nights for sure," says Wheeler, "the extra points from the dash and track position for the (Saturday & Sunday) Features will be huge.  Whenever I am on the track the same time as Mike I just have to finish ahead of him.  It's pretty simple."

Not only is Wheeler chasing Tom in the standings, he will also try to stay ahead of two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy.  "It's been a struggle this season," admits Kennedy who trails Wheeler by just 13 points, "if it's not the car set up then it's been motor problems.  We really haven't run good all season and are lucky to be in the position we're in right now." 


A NEW 'BULLET' HAS BEEN INSTALLED IN THE 81

Kennedy finished fourth in his Lucas Oil #81 Dodge at the last NPP Series Feature race in Edmonton.  "Two more laps and I would have been last.  The motor was shot."  Kennedy does have two Feature wins in Lethbridge, the most recent was the Saturday night show of the 2007 September long weekend. 


BORYSKO & KENNEDY AIMING HIGH THIS WEEKEND

Darin Borysko and Crystal Kennedy round out the top five in the NPP Series Championship points chase.  The pair are separated by a single point.  Borysko sits just 27 points back of third place Dwight Kennedy.  

NPP SIDE NOTE: Jason Beaulieu leads all NPP Series drivers with 5 Feature wins at Bridge County Raceway. The Campbell River, BC driver is racing his Modified at Grays Harbor Raceway in Washington this September long weekend.  Jason's son Chris, who went to victory lane in his IMCA Modified at BCR in May of 2009, will be filling in for his dad.  Chris Beaulieu's best finish in Lethbridge in a NPP Late Model is second (June 27th, 2009).  His dad won the Feature this night.   

2011 SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP/OILMEN'S CLASSIC

Lethbridge, Alberta

>Saturday, September 3rd
>Sunday, September 4th


Spectator Gates @ 5:00pm
Racing Starts @ 7:00pm (both nights)
Also Racing: Sportsman Sprint Cars / Stock Trucks

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