NPP GOES DRAG RACING
EDMONTON, AB
(July 6)Northern Provincial Pipelines, proud title sponsor of the NPP Late Model Series in Alberta, went drag racing on the weekend at the 7th annual IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals at Castrol Raceway (July 3 - 5).  Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. was proud to be a co-sponsor of the Top Fuel Dragster entry driven by racing veteran Terry McMillen. 


NPP on the Oval and the Dragstrip in 2009

On his second pass of the weekend (Saturday afternoon),  the Elkart, Indiana competitor piloted his dragster to the #1 spot in qualifying after racing down the drag strip in 4.83 seconds at 287.78mph.  On this very same pass, McMillen’s 8,000 horsepower motor would expire in a flash of orange flame just before the finish line. McMillen’s qualifying time would stand up for the final round of qualifying on Saturday night. 


McMillen drives to the #1 Qualifying spot in Edmonton Saturday

After winning round one of elmination’s Sunday afternoon against Smax Smith (Kimball, Missouri), McMillen would face Mitch King (Galveston, Texas) in the semi-finals.  McMillen appeared headed to certain victory however his dragster started smoking the tires.  McMillen backpedaled to regain control. King would stormed by and take the victory.  Bruce Litton (Indianapolis, Indiana) was the eventual winner in Top Fuel Dragster defeating King in the final.  Terry McMillen leaves Edmonton 4th in the points standings.   

The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series returns to action this Friday and Saturday night (July 10th and 11th)  NPP Late Model drivers join with competitors in the ‘360’ Sprint Car division at the 2009 Gold Cup.

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READY SET GOLD
EDMONTON, AB
(July 15)Drivers of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series compete at one of Canada’s oldest motorsports events this weekend.  First run in Edmonton back in 1954, the 2009 Gold Cup takes place this Friday and Saturday night at Castrol Raceway.  “It’s going to be an incredible two nights of racing,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig,  “this is the eleventh consecutive year that NPP Late Models will be racing with the Sprint Cars at the Gold Cup.”  It was at the 1999 Gold Cup that NPP Late Models made their Edmonton debut. Castrol Raceway has been the home track of the NPP Late Model Series since 2001. 


Beaulieu takes a slim 23 point lead into Edmonton this Friday night

Campbell River BC’s Jason Beaulieu currently leads the Championship point chase at the midway point of the 2009 season.  “We have a little bit of a cushion right now but there is still a long way to go.”  Beaulieu, who won in Lethbridge two weekends ago, has been the only NPP Series point leader thus far in 2009.  “Wins are always nice but right now I will be after consistency for the last half of the season.  I need top five finishes and no DNF’s.”  The #46 Lucas Oil Dodge had three DNF’s (did not finish) in 2008 which left the 2007 NPP Champion out of the top three in points.  Mention the Gold Cup race weekend to NPP competitor Mike Tom and there are many unpleasant flashbacks. 


Tom hopes his luck improves at this years Gold Cup event in Edmonton

“I can’t remember any good Gold Cup events. None of them stand out in my mind at all.” Tom did finish third at last years event but previous Gold Cup events for the Stony Plain Alberta driver have been major struggles with mechanical difficulties and blown motors. Tom currently sits tied for third in the NPP Championship point standings with Kevin Clark and is coming off a fourth place finish in Lethbridge two weekends ago.  “This is one of the better starts to a season for us,” says the driver of the Enerbuilt Technologies #55 Chevrolet, “despite our recent (Gold Cup) luck the team is really looking forward to this weekend’s event.  We’ve been trying out different things the past few races.  We are back at the home track and are expecting to be fast.” 


Kevin Clark sits tied with Mike Tom for third in point standings.

The NPP Late Model Series is expecting its biggest car count of the season this weekend with 19 cars competing for valuable 2009 Championship points.                       


EDMONTON, ALBERTA
>Friday, July 10th
Pit Gates: 2:00pm
Spectator Gates: 4:00pm
Racing: 6:00pm

>Saturday, July 11th 
Pit Gates: NOON
Spectator Gates: 2:00pm
Racing: 6:00pm     

RACE NOTES
- NPP Late Model race teams have not competed on their home track since Sept. 19th (295 days ago)
- Whitecourt’s Pat Fines is fifth in Championship points and is off to his best start in an NPP Late Model since his rookie season (2007).   
- Jason Beaulieu won the last NPP Feature at Castrol Raceway (Sept 19th) and has won two of the last three Gold Cup features races dating back to 2007.       
- after engine troubles in Lethbridge, three-time NPP champion Trevor Emond is still questionable for this weekend’s race in Edmonton.
- after missing the last four events due to work commitments, Sidney BC’s Darrell Midgley is back behind the wheel of the Lucas Oil #14 Dodge this weekend.
- Jason Beaulieu, Dwight Kennedy, Trevor Emond and Darrell Midgley have been the most recent Feature winners at Gold Cup events dating back to 2006.     
- just 82 points separates third place from 10th place in the NPP Championship point standings.

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GOLD CUP 09 UPDATE: The 2009 Gold Cup race event featuring '360' Sprint Cars and the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is still a go for Friday and Saturday night. A significant amount of rain has fallen in the Edmonton region since Tuesday. Despite this, the Oval track itself is in good condition. However the pit area for competitors and parking lot for spectators is a concern. Spectators will be asked to park in the Drag pit area this weekend. There could be some shuffling around for Oval competitors on Friday. Sunday July 12th is a rainout date for the 2009 Gold Cup. (Photos below taken on Thursday July 9th between 12 NOON and 12:30pm)

Let the drying begin.............


Getting to the NPP pits (above) from the back gate is currently a muddy journey.


Another blast of rain hits Castrol Raceway early Thursday afternoon.

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GOLDEN RACE FOR TOM, MIDGLEY, EMOND
EDMONTON, AB (June 12) – After several weather cancellations in May and June, the stars of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series raced on their home track for this first time this season.  Friday and Saturday night (July 10th / 11th) NPP teams competed with the open wheel Sprint Car division at the 55th running of the Gold Cup at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway.  Three NPP Series drivers figured prominently in the results both nights.  Stony Plain Alberta’s Mike Tom won Friday nights Feature and placed third Saturday night.  Sidney, British Columbia’s Darrell Midgley placed second Friday night and was Saturday night’s Feature winner.  Leduc, Alberta’s Trevor Emond had a third and a second place finish at the two night show. 


Tom and Midgley battle for position at Castrol Raceway

Midgley’s strong weekend allowed him to take over the point lead for the second time this season.  “The planets seemed to be aligned for us right now,” says the driver of the #14 Lucas Oil Dodge, “the playing field in this class is so level right now that every pass seems to turn into a major battle. We competed very hard for the win (Saturday night).  The second place finish Friday night was just as hard fought.”  Mike Tom meanwhile officially ended the jinx that has plagued him at previous Gold Cup events.  “We’ve had mechanical issues with the car over the years no doubt about that,” indicates the driver of the Enerbuilt Technologies #55 Chevrolet, “it seems to be coming together for us as a team this season though.  We’ve been more focused on the car (set up) lately instead of worrying about what might break next.  We are pretty confident on what we need to do the car as track conditions change.”  Tom sits third in the NPP Championship point standings, just 117 points behind Midgley and is only a mere 25 points out of second spot. 


Back to back podium finishes puts Emond back into the Top 10 in NPP Points.

Trevor Emond continues his climb back up the point’s ladder after blowing his motor in Lethbridge two weeks ago.  “We were very close to having to run our spare motor on the weekend,” says the driver of the Glentel Wireless #17 Chevrolet, “we probably wouldn’t even have cracked the top 10 either night.  I’m glad we had a strong weekend.  We needed it because this yo-yo ride is getting a bit tiring.”  Emond fell from third to thirteenth in the points chase after his motor issues in Lethbridge.  “The two good nights has definitely given us a boost.”  With back to back podium finishes in Edmonton, the three-time NPP Series Champion now sits 10th in the standings just 75 points back of two time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy who sits fifth in the standings.


Getting ready to go green Saturday night at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway

NPP WEEKEND RACE NOTES
- the #14 Lucas Oil Dodge has not finished worse than third in 6 races this season.
- only 1 yellow flag was flown during Saturday nights 25 lap feature. 
- the pole sitters did not win Friday or Saturday nights feature. Only 1 of 6 races run this season has been won by the pole sitter.  Only 7 of the last 23 races dating back to last season has been won by the pole sitter.
- Whitecourt, Alberta’s Kevin Wheeler led the most laps in Saturday nights Feature (15) in his # 3 Dodge but the setup on his race car went away.  Wheeler settled for fourth.  Wheeler finished fifth in Friday’s feature. He also won his heat races both nights.
- Jason Beaulieu had a three race winning streak snapped Friday night.  The Campbell River, BC dropped from first to second in NPP Series points after registering back to back DNF’s (did not finish) for the first time ever.
- Whitecourt, Alberta’s Paul Grundberg missed his first ever NPP Feature due to engine problems in his #12 Pontiac.

NOTE: The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series now has two weekends off before the next event.  The July 25th scheduled event at Rapid Fire Motorsports Park in Drayton Valley, Alberta has unfortunately been cancelled by track management.

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CROUCHING RACE CAR, HIDDEN DRAGON
LEDUC, AB (July 19) - With no scheduled event on the weekend, the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series dropped by the 2nd annual Leduc Dragon Boat races Saturday afternoon and took in the action on the waters of Telford Lake.  A total of 17 dragon boat teams were on hand for the two day show. 

“Dragon boat racing is pretty similar to auto racing,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “it’s definitely a team sport. They have a pit area (for the boats).  Even the rivalry’s between teams and competition gets quite intense.”  A race weekend is made up of dozens of qualifying heats.  From these qualifying heats, teams transfer to the finals.  Not only is getting to the finish line important, so is the total time it takes to get to the finish line.  “Four teams compete on the track in each race,” adds Craig, “there is no green flag, just the sound of a horn to start the race.” 

Consistency, teamwork and speed are vital as 22 people are responsible for moving a 41 foot long dragon boat from the start line to the finish line.  Using small oars, a total of twenty men and women propel the dragon boat to the beat of a drummer sitting at the bow.  A steersperson stands at the stern with a long single oar.  “There were two track lengths marked out in the waters of Telford Lake,” says Craig, “they had a 250 meter length track and a 500 meter track.  They also have a 2,000 meter race in which dragon boat teams would make several laps.” 

The NPP Late Model Series would like to congratulate all the winners on the weekend.  Good luck to those that are now heading to the Dragon Boat Canadian Championships in Montreal in August.  The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is proud to be a part of the community and continues to be on the lookout for race related events to attend.

Next race action for the stars of the NPP Late Model Series is Saturday and Sunday August 1st and 2nd.  The 17th running of the Oilmen’s Invitational at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway features NPP Late Models, Stock Cars and Stock Trucks.

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DIRT MEETS PAVEMENT
EDSON, AB (July 22) – The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series, one of Western Canada’s top touring series on the dirt, welcomes one of Canada’s top pavement racers to Alberta this weekend.  DJ Kennington sits second in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points chase heading into Saturday’s race in Edmonton, Alberta. 

“We’ve had a pretty good year so far,” says the St. Thomas, Ontario driver, “with the win in Deleware last month and two seconds and a fourth the last three races, we are now within striking distance (42 points) of the leader (Andrew Ranger).”  The NCTS is currently in the middle of its three-race western swing.  It concludes next Wednesday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  “I love racing in Alberta,” says the driver of the Northern Provincial Pipelines/Castrol sponsored #17 Dodge, “there seems to be an instant connection (with race fans) here in Edmonton.  I can probably attribute that to my involvement in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.” 


DJK Racing prepares for Edmonton event at the NPP shop in Edson

After running 26 races in 2008 and finishing 24th in Nationwide Series points, Kennington is running a limited race season this year in the #81 Dodge which is owned by Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. (Race operations run by MacDonald Motorsports in Thomasville, North Carolina) “We’ve run six times this year and will probably run two or three more times before the season wraps up in November.  However our main focus right now is running strong here and trying to get the Canadian championship the end of September.” On his was to Edmonton, after racing in Vernon, British Columbia (Saturday - finished 4th), Kennington stopped by the race shop of long time supporter and sponsor Dwight Kennedy of Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. 


Kennington flys the NPP banner in Canada and at select events in the USA

“Many Canadian racers can only dream of getting that big break,” says Kennington working on his car at the NPP race shop, “Dwight has given me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run the big tracks in the United States and I can’t thank him enough.  Racing at Daytona International Speedway, racing in Phoenix and down in Texas and being able to run side by side with Dale Earnhart Junior, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch is really hard to explain in words.  What I do know is that these experiences will be with me forever.” Many Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series race teams will be in the grandstands Saturday cheering for the NPP sponsored #17 Dodge of DJ Kennington.  Kennington who finished fourth earlier this year on the road course race in Bowmanville, Ontario, looks to take over the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series point lead with a strong finish on the roadcourse in Edmonton.          

NCTS WEEKEND SCHEDULE
>Friday, July 24th
Practice Session #1:  8:00am
Practice Session #2:10:45am
Qualifying: 5:00pm

>Saturday, July 25th
Race: 11:00am

NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES SCHEDULE
Saturday, July 25 – Edmonton, Alberta (road course)
Wednesday, July 29 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (oval)
August 8 – Bowmanville, Ontario (oval)
August 16 –Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (road course)
August 30 – Montreal, Quebec (road course)
September 12 – Barrie, Ontario (oval)
September 19 – Antigonish, NS (oval)
September 26 – Peterborough, Ontario (oval)

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VETERANS' OF THE OILMENS
EDMONTON, AB (July 28) – The very first Oilmen’s Invitational race was competed at Yellowhead Speedway near Hinton, Alberta back in 1994.  Two drivers that currently race in the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series can proudly say that they were at that inaugural Oilmen’s event 16 years ago.  Edson, Alberta’s Dwight Kennedy drove to victory lane in his #81 Dodge Hobby Stock race car.  Ken Clark finished in the top 10 in his #78 Camaro Hobby Stock. 


Kennedy (#81) and Clark (#78) battle for position at the 1995 Oilmen's race

NPP Late Models, which evolved from the Hobby Stock class in the late 1990’s, made their debut at the 1998 Oilmen’s Invitational.  Three seasons later, the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series was formed.  Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway has been home to the annual Oilmen’s Invitational since then. “This will be the ninth year in a row the Oilmen’s has been run in Edmonton,” indicates Kennedy, “haven’t missed one event yet going back to when the Oilmen’s was in Hinton.”  Kennedy is the defending Oilmen’s champion and currently sits 5th in NPP Late Model Series championship points. 


Oilmens Champion Kennedy hoping for encore performance this weekend

“We grabbed a win on night number two of the Oilmen’s last year so we’d like to do it again this year.”  Kennedy, who has been chasing handling problems this season, has won four of the last six Oilmen’s Features (Saturday/Sunday) dating back to 2006.  Ken Clark meanwhile is choosing to forget the past several Oilmen’s Invitational events.  “We blew motors in back to back races last year,” says the driver of the Edson Sign's #78 Chevrolet, “we crashed out several years ago.  It’s been a real struggle the last few years that’s for sure.” 


Clark looking to to start off second half of 2009 season with strong performance

 

Clark has had numerous top ten finishes and several top fives in past Oilmens dating back to 1994.  “Dwight and I have had some pretty good battles on the track over the years. This is a tough race to win.” Clark enters race action 12th in the NPP Championship point chase.  “I need a solid weekend to get back into the top 10.”  The Oilmen’s Invitational weekend, which features 50 lap main events both nights, kicks off the last half of the 2009 race season for the stars of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  Sidney, British Columbia’s Darrell Midlgey leads the NPP Championship point’s chase in his Lucas Oil #14 Dodge. 

16th annual OILMEN’S INVITATIONAL
Saturday & Sunday August 1st / 2nd
Pit Gates @ 2PM
Spectator Gates @ 4PM
Racing @ 6PM

CASTROL RACEWAY ADMISSION
Adults              $10.00
Youth (6 – 12) $5.00
Seniors             $5.00
Children (under 5) FREE

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