WHERE RUBBER MEETS THE DIRT
EDMONTON, AB. (August 9) - For more than a decade, Goodyear has been the 'official' racing tire of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  Last summer, Goodyear dropped a bombshell by announcing it was phasing out production of its dirt track tires.  The decision left many North American racing Series looking for a replacement.  With the NPP Late Model Series inventory of Goodyear tires down to less than four dozen, NPP Series officials are allowing teams to run either Goodyear dirt racing tires or Hoosier dirt racing tires for the 2013 race season.  For one driver, the choice of which tire to run was simple.  "I had a few Goodyear tires left over from last year," admits defending NPP Series Champion Kevin Wheeler, "but I've been running Hoosiers since the start of the season." 


POINT LEADER WHEELER HAPPY WITH HOOSIERS
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Wheeler made history last month, winning the first NPP Series Feature while running Hoosier racing tires.  "I used to run Hoosiers on my open wheel modified.  I sure like them better than Goodyears."  Wheeler won the 2002 Alberta Outlaw Modified Season Championship on Hoosiers.  "I would have to say that the Hoosier grips the track better than the Goodyear."  So far about 30% of NPP Series race teams have made the switchover from Goodyear to Hoosier racing tires. 


FINAL SEASON FOR GOODYEAR DIRT TIRES?

Ironically the top three cars in the current NPP Series Championship point standings have been running Hoosier tires.  "There are some subtle changes to the handling," adds Wheeler, " I did have to do some tweaks to the car for the slightly softer sidewall."  Sitting third in the NPP Series point standings is Kevin Clark.  The Altario, Alberta driver has a completely different assessment of the Hoosier tires.  "The tires [Hoosiers] might be similar to what we've been running but they are definitely not better." 


NOT HAPPY WITH HOOSIERS - CLARK GOES BACK TO GOODYEAR
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Clark started out his 2013 season on Hoosier tires but at the mid-way point of the Race of Champions event (July 31) in Edmonton, Clark switched back to his diminishing supply of Goodyear tires.  "The way I like to run my car, I can't with these tires [Hoosiers].  They are like hockey pucks as far as I'm concerned."  Clark finished third in the Race of Champions Feature behind Dave Blaney and Ken Schrader.  Blaney was running Goodyear race tires. Schrader's race car was running Hoosiers. "Yes I am going to have to get used to these new tires.  Hopefully we will have the option of running a softer compound."  The slow changeover from the Goodyear dirt racing tires to the Hoosier dirt racing tires  continues  for NPP Late Model Series competitors. Next race is Saturday, August 17th in Edmonton. 

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FINISHING WELL
EDMONTON, AB. (August 15) - Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series drivers are setting their sights high as the 2013 race season enters the home stretch.   Crystal Kennedy and Dean Deatherage are just a handful of points out of the top 5 in the NPP Series Championship point standings. Kennedy sits 7th in the points chase and knows she can't look too far ahead in the schedule.  "It's going to be race by race for me, "admits the Edson, Alberta driver, "top-five [in points] would be ok, but I really want to finish in the top-three this year."  Kennedy, who became the highest finishing female driver with her 6th place finish in points back in 2011, hopes track conditions play into her hands this Saturday night.  "I'm really hoping to run the high-line in Edmonton.  I did that [at the Season Opener] and finished 4th." Mechanical problems unfortunately plagued Kennedy's #88 Dodge at the last race in Edmonton. She finished the Feature in 12th which dropped her three positions in the standings. "I need a good finish to make up for the last race."     


KENNEDY CURRENTLY SITS 7TH IN POINTS
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(photo: STP RACING MEMORIES)

Dean Deatherage currently sits 6th in the NPP Series Championship points chase, tied with two-time Series Champion Dwight Kennedy.  "Even though I've had seat time in the past it was hard getting comfortable [behind the wheel]," says the driver of the Scott Safety #18 Dodge, "the only reason why is because I very rarely drove the same car twice."  Since 2008, Deatherage has been a fill-in driver for the NPP Late Model Series.  The Whitecourt, Alberta driver is racing his first full-season in the NPP Late Model Series in 2013.  As a relief/backup driver, Deatherage had 12 NPP Series starts in five different race cars.  Despite the musical race cars, Deatherage still managed an average Feature finish of 9.25 with eight top-10 finishes.  In 2013, Deatherage has had average Feature finish of 7th. 


DEATHERAGE GETTING COMFORTABLE IN HIS SCOTT SAFETY #18 DODGE
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"Driving the same car every race definitely helps with the confidence.  I know where the car is [set-up wise] because it's the same car every race." Deatherage is still smiling after the last NPP Late Model Series event where he finished 8th.  "I couldn't believe I was going by Michael Waltrip and Sterling Marlin [near the end of the race].  Racing with Ken Schrader and duking it out with Dave Blaney is something I will never forget."

CASTROL RACEWAY
- Saturday, August 17th
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> 4:00PM - Spectator Gates
> 6:00PM - Racing

Classes competing:
NPP Late Model Series
Sportsman Sprint Cars
Super Stocks
Mini Stocks

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CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE
EDMONTON, AB. (August 18) - Kevin Wheeler almost let a Feature win slip through his fingers Saturday night at Castrol Raceway. On the white flag lap, two-time NPP Late Model Series Champion Dwight Kennedy got by the defending NPP Series Champion down the back straight. Wheeler managed to muscled back the lead coming out of turn four and drove to his second Feature win of the 2013 season.


WHEELER GRABS SECOND WIN OF 2013 SEASON

"We had a fast car right out of the gate," says the driver of the Bill Weins Trucking/KW Mechanical #3 Dodge, "Dwight put some pressure on us hard at the end but we were able to hold him off. To finish in front of him is pretty good." With the win Wheeler solidified his lead atop the NPP Late Model Series Championship point standings. The Whitecourt, Alberta driver has a 69 point cushion over Kennedy who moved from sixth to second in the standings with his second place finish. Despite his best finish of the season, the Edson, Alberta driver was not very pleased with Wheelers passing tactics at the end. "I passed Wheeler clean [to take over the lead]. Thats really all I have to say." With his second place finish in his All Weather Windows #81 Dodge, Kennedy hopes to continue his move to towards the top. "Its a new car and a new chassis for us this season," admits Kennedy, "we are starting to get the feel of it finally and it definitely showed tonight." Both Kennedy and Wheeler were the NPP Series Heat race winners earlier in the evening.


PETE HEAD AND CRYSTAL KENNEDY BATTLE FOR FOURTH IN EDMONTON

Darin Borysko, who ran a full-season last year with the NPP Late Model Series made his first appearance of the season Saturday night. The Edson, Alberta racer drove the Integra Tire #14 Dodge to a third place finish. Borysko was filling in for Darrell Midlgey who was overseeing track management duties at Western Speedway in Victoria, British Columbia. Edson Alberta's Crystal Kennedy started the Feature at the back of the pack and finished fourth. Pete Head had his best ever finish in the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series. The Whitecourt, Alberta driver finished fifth. His previous best Feature finish was 10th at Merritt Speedway in British Columbia last season. Next scheduled event for the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is a two-day show at Flatlanders Speedway in Kindersley, Saskatchewan on the September long weekend.

NPP LATE MODEL SERIES - THE INSIDE TRACK
- this is Kevin Wheelers first ever multi-win season in the NPP Series.
- Rookie of the Year contender Wayne Wheeler suffered extensive damage in a two-car tangle early in the Feature. Wheeler finished last and moved from second to fourth in the points chase.
- Rookie of the Year contender Mark Miller was heading for a top-5 finish in the Feature but suspension problems forced the Calgary, Alberta driver to retire with four laps to go.
- Dwight Kennedy's heat race win Saturday night was his first in Edmonton since September 19th, 2009.
- Crystal Kennedy now has 88 starts in the NPP Late Model Series. Her brother Shawn has 80 starts. Her dad Dwight leads all drivers will 139 starts.

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ALL IN THE FAMILY
EDMONTON, AB (August 29) - Championship weekend has arrived for drivers and teams of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  For the second consecutive season, race fans at Flatlanders Speedway in Kindersley, Saskatchewan will get to witness the crowning of the champion in Western Canada's toughest racing series 'on the dirt'.  The Wheeler and the Kennedy racing families share the Top 5 spots in NPP Series Championship points chase heading into the final weekend of competition.  Kevin Wheeler and brother Wayne sit first and fourth.  Dwight Kennedy is second in the point standings with son and daughter Shawn and Crystal, third and fifth in the points chase.  Whitecourt, Alberta's Kevin Wheeler has a sixty-nine point cushion over Dwight Kennedy heading into the final two races of 2013.  "I still think it's anybody's Championship right now," admits the driver of the KW Mechanical / Bill Weins Trucking # 3 Dodge,  "I know I need to run a consistent weekend and save the car for Sunday.  Being consistent doesn't mean slowing down.  You can't let your guard down for one second.  I did it at the last race and it just about cost me a win." 


KENNEDY VS WHEELER: SHOWDOWN IN SASKATCHEWAN?

Eight NPP Series drivers can still mathematically win the 2013 Championship but the wheels would literally have to fall off Wheelers car both nights in Kindersley. Despite the odds, the target on Wheelers back remains very large.  "Yes.  Yes it is for sure.  It's a very big target. There are a lot of good drivers in this Series.  Dwight's coming on strong right now.  You can't afford to have an off-night."  Two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy says he will be looking for any opportunity to get by Wheeler in the standings this weekend.  "We would be a lot closer to Kevin [in the standings] if we didn't have problems at the first race of the year."  Kennedy and his All Weather Windows Dodge finished 11th at the Season Opener.  "He's running pretty good right now.  I think the only way I can catch him is if he has misses one of the Features [in Kindersley] but I don't think that's going to happen."  Kennedy finished third in the point standings in 2012 (4th in 2011).  "It's been awhile since I've won one of these things [Championships].  You don't get too many chances in this Series." 


KENNEDY VS KENNEDY: SIBLING RIVALRY

Sitting third in the NPP Series is Edson, Alberta's  Shawn Kennedy.  "I'm a little surprised at where I am in the standings but at the same time I'm not."  Shawn Kennedy has not run a full season with the NPP Late Model Series since the 2009 season.  "Been doing a lot of research on set-ups and applying it to my car and it's working," says the driver of the Habitat for Humanity/ReStore #90 Dodge, "would love to wrap up the season with a Feature win but it's going to be interesting running at a track I've never raced at before."  NPP Series Rookie of the Year contender Wayne Wheeler has not run the 'tricky triangle' of Flatlanders Speedway either.  "It will one step at a time," says the driver of the Yaku Enterprises # 4 Dodge, "I'm going to get a feel for the track first and then put the charge on and give my brother a run for the money this weekend." 


WHEELER: 2013 NPP SERIES ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CONTENDER
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Wheeler has been as high as second in the NPP Series Championship points chase but currently sits fourth.  "I did not expect to do this well [my first season].  I don't have any secrets, I've just been doing my thing.  I feel very comfortable behind the wheel of this car."  Just three points separates second from fourth in the standings.  Crystal Kennedy sits fifth in points just thirteen points back of fourth place Wheeler.  "My ultimate goal is to finish third in points,"  indicates Kennedy, "I'm fifth right now and we are heading to a track that I think is a little easier to run than Edmonton."  Kennedy had back to back top 10 finishes in Saskatchewan last season.  "It's the last race of the year.  I can be a little bit more aggressive."

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