FOCUS ON THE FEATURE
EDMONTON, AB. (July 5)
The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is back in action this Saturday night at Castrol Raceway.  Stony Plain Alberta’s Mike Tom hopes to become the first NPP Series driver since 2003 (Trevor Emond) to win four consecutive Feature events.  “We have had our eye on the ball the last few races here in Edmonton,” says the current point leader and driver of the #55 Hinton Oilfield Services Chevrolet, “we’ve been watching how the track is changing and how the track is prepped and building that into our car set up.”  Right now Tom is more concerned about driver preparedness than his race car.  “We haven’t had the car fail us during a race event for some time now.  What I’m a little concerned about is the longer that you go between races you can lose your focus.”  The last time NPP Series drivers were on the track was June 4th.  Two-time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy is focused on getting his car around the race track.  “It was a brand new race car at the season opener and we were still trying to get the set up right.  We couldn’t get it to turn in the heats, then it wanted to turn too much in the Feature.”  The driver of the Lucas Oil #81 Dodge still managed a second place finish in the Feature.  “The car will be good for this Saturday.”  Both Kennedy and Tom will be looking over their shoulders this weekend as Whitecourt, Alberta’s Kevin Wheeler has indicated he’s due for a win.  “We might have had something for Dwight and Mike at the last race if we didn’t smack up the car (in the heat).  We need to stay out of trouble and get to the Feature with a car that’s all together.”  Wheeler drove his damaged race car to a third place finish at the 2011 season opener.  Wheeler, who last won a NPP Series feature in 2008 (Elma, Washington), had three consecutive second place finishes to wrap up the 2010 season.      

CASTROL RACEWAY
Edmonton, Alberta
Saturday, July 9th
Gates @ 4:00pm

Racing @ 6:00pm

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THE RAIN'S A PAIN
EDMONTON, AB.
(July 9)Castrol Raceway officials have cancelled Saturday night's scheduled oval event due to inclement weather and a less than favorable forecast.  Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series announcer Gord Craig says the cancellation of tonight’s race action comes as no surprise. 


CASTROL RACEWAY FRONT STRAIGHT/CORNER 1 (PHOTO TAKEN AT 11:17am)

“Canceling any race event is pretty tough but there comes a point when there is nothing you can do. The weather simply beat us once again.”  A steady rain fell on the Edmonton region all day Friday. “The rain did let up a bit Friday night so there was a glimmer of hope that maybe this weather system was beginning to move on.” 


CASTROL RACEWAY OVAL PITS (PHOTO TAKEN AT 11:20am)

Unfortunately, heavy rain began falling at the track site just after 9:00am Saturday morning which ended any chance that an event could take place.  “This is beginning to feel like the 2009 season all over again,” adds Craig, “half of our season was wiped out due to rain that year.”  So far in 2011, three of four scheduled NPP Series race dates have been lost due to rain.      

Next scheduled event for the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is Friday and Saturday night July 22nd and 23rd.  For the 11th straight year the NPP Late Model Series is the support class for Canada’s oldest Sprint Car event…. The Gold Cup.

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RACING IN THE BIG LEAGUES
ST. ALBERT, AB.
(July 14) After successfully testing the waters with a single race car last season, the Ellis Motorsports Racing team has come on board full-force in 2011 with three cars.  Brad Ellis, owner of CSL Transportation and patriarch of the Ellis family say’s after several years of watching the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series compete, it was time to jump in with both feet“This Series is the real deal,” indicates Ellis, “I’ve been involved in the racing scene since the 70’s.  There is such a passion for racing in this class it's unbelievable.”  The 2010 season saw Brad’s son win the NPP Late Model Series Rookie of the Year honors.


BRAD ELLIS AND SON CURTIS AT CSL HEADQUARTERS IN EDMONTON

“Ryan raced an older car last year.  He stayed out of trouble all season and did fairly well with it.  During the off season we sold the old car and acquired two newer NPP Late Model cars.  The goal was to have both Ryan and his brother (Curtis) compete together.  Then just before the season started another NPP car fell into our laps which good friend Kary Rogers is going to debut at the Gold Cup race in Edmonton.”  As crew chief for the newly expanded team, Ellis knows his plate will be full next weekend.  “Running three cars is a bold step, that’s for sure.”  Rookie driver Curtis Ellis agrees with his father.  "Getting that first race under our belt was huge.  We got the car off the trailer, had a top ten finish (6th) and put the car back on the trailer in one piece."  The Sherwood Park, Alberta driver hopes for a top 5 finish at the Gold Cup.  "We learned a lot from our first race.  Several other teams were giving me and my dad pointers with this new car and that was really appreciated."  Ellis sits sixth in points just a single point back of fifth place.  "We want to be consistent in our first season.  If we can get the rookie of the year award like my brother did last year that would be great." 


ELLIS MOTORSPORTS PAVEMENT L/M AND NPP LATE MODEL DISPLAY

Ryan Ellis, last season's NPP Rookie of the Year struggled at the June 4th opener in his Need 4 Speed Racing Products #27 Ford.  "The gearing was way out in the car," sighs the Edmonton, Alberta driver, "the car was good in the corners but was brutal on the straights.  That mistake can't be made again."  Ellis, who finished 7th in the NPP Championship points chase last season currently sits 10th heading into the next weekends Gold Cup race event. 


NPP DRIVER RYAN ELLIS WORKS FOR GRANDIN TOWING IN ST. ALBERT

"There are going to be a few more cars in the field next weekend so we have to pick it up."  Kary Rogers will one of those drivers bolstering the NPP field next weekend. The Millet, Alberta competitor will also be making his NPP Late Model Series debut.  "Looking forward to running this class," says the driver of the CSL Transportation #19 Chevrolet, "from what I've seen from a distance it's a pretty good bunch of people to race with." 


ROGERS MAKES HIS NPP LATE MODEL SERIES DEBUT NEXT WEEKEND

Rogers spent a single season in the Wissota Late Model class and managed to claim the Castrol Raceway Rookie of the Year honors.  "I've already missed one race (car not ready) but who knows, maybe I can win back to back rookie of the year awards."  The Ellis Motorsports Racing team invites all race fans to drop by the pits after the races. 

Next NPP Series race event:
2011 GOLD CUP
Castrol Raceway - Edmonton, Alberta
Friday, July 22nd / Racing starts at 7:00PM
Saturday, July 23rd / Racing starts at 6:00PM

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OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM
EDMONTON, AB. (July 19)For the 11th consecutive year, the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is the support class for the Gold Cup.  First competed in Edmonton back in 1954,  Canada's oldest most prestigious Sprint Car race, runs this Friday and Saturday night at Castrol Raceway.  Two drivers at opposite ends of the NPP Late Model Series points chase are looking forward to the Gold Cup weekend for different reasons.  Current point leader Mike Tom hopes to extend his Feature win streak to four in a row, while Darrell Midgey would simply like to complete a Feature event.  "This is an extremely tough series to get back to back wins," says Tom, driver of the Hinton Oilfield Services #55 Chevrolet, "so it's fun to have the unique opportunity to do this." 


FOUR IN A ROW?

The Stony Plain, Alberta driver indicates that just being able to race is a nice change.  "I'm kind of sick and tired of not racing (3 rainouts this season).  It'll be good to be able to get back to the track again."  The heavy rainfall in the Edmonton region the past several weeks could make it a bit of a guessing game for race car set-ups.  "We are ready for any track conditions," adds Tom, "two-day shows usually mean a heavy track the first night and a dry slick the next.  But you never know."  Meanwhile, Darrell Midgley won't be keeping an eye on the sky this weekend but on the gauges on his dash of the Lucas Oil #14 Dodge.  Midgley sits last in the NPP Championship points chase courtesy a blown motor at the season opener.  "It's been one of the most frustrating starts that I can remember.  We got rained out in Lethbridge and then the  motor locked up tight in Edmonton." 


PODIUM FINISHES REQUIRED TO KICK START SEASON

The Sidney, British Columbia driver says it's going to be a challenge the rest of the season.  "We have a good car and a good crew.  If we have a good weekend you'll see this car back into the top five."  The Sidney, British Columbia driver grabbed a Feature win and a second at the 2009 Gold Cup race weekend in Edmonton.         

2011 GOLD CUP
Castrol Raceway - Edmonton, Alberta

>Friday, July 22nd
Spectator Gates @ 5PM
Racing at 7PM (after Sprint Car Qualifying)

>Saturday, July 23rd
Spectator Gates @ 4PM
Racing at 6PM (after Sprint Car Qualifying)

BREAKING NEWS! (July 20th at 6:30pm): 2009 NPP Series Champion Darrell Midgley has pulled himself out of this Friday and Saturday's Gold Cup race in Edmonton. Midgley says its was a extremely tough decision to make but as owner of Western Speedway in Victoria, BC, he felt he should be at his facility to oversee a major weekend event. Filling in for Midgley and driving the #14 Lucas Oil Dodge will be 5-time Castrol Raceway Late Model champion Kelvin Bell.

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GOLD CUP NIGHT #1 FLOODED OUT
EDMONTON, AB. (July 22)Heavy rainfall has cancelled Night #1 of the 2011 Gold Cup at Castrol Raceway.  Weather permitting, Canada's oldest most prestigious Sprint Car race will now be a one night show on Saturday.  "It started raining in the Edmonton area Thursday afternoon at about 4 o'clock," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "it wasn't the sprinkle kind of rain either.  It's been monsoon-like at times."


CASTROL RACEWAY OVAL (photo taken at 12:25pm Friday)


CASTROL RACEWAY PITS (photo taken at 12:28pm Friday)

The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has been the support class for the Gold Cup for 11 straight years.  This is not the first time a Gold Cup race in Edmonton has been shortened to a single night.  Most recently, the 2008 Gold Cup was a one night show due to inclement weather.  Castrol Raceway officials are carefully considering all options right now. A decision on Night #2 could come as early as 6:00pm today (Friday).

2011 GOLD CUP
(Night #2)
SATURDAY, July 23rd
Spectator Gates @ 4:00PM
Racing @ 6:00PM

**start times subject to change/updates will be posted     

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GOLD CUP
NIGHT #2 UPDATE
(as of Saturday, July 23 at 9:30am):
Night #2 of the 2011 Gold Cup is still a GO for tonight. Unfortunately the forcast for this afternoon/evening does not look good. The NPP Series website will be updated if the status of the race changes. Spectator gates for the 2011 Gold Cup will open at 4:00pm / Racing at 6:00pm.


CASTROL RACEWAY OVAL (photo taken at 8:51am Saturday)


CASTROL RACEWAY PITS (photo taken at 8:48am Saturday)

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FOUR IN A ROW
EDMONTON, AB.
(July 24) - Mike Tom won his fourth consecutive Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series Feature event at Saturday nights Gold Cup event at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway. "Winning two in a row in this series is tough, everyone that races this series knows this.  There are just so many competitive teams, so it's incredible to be in this position."   The last NPP Series driver to win four consecutive NPP Series Feature events was Trevor Emond during the 2003 season. 


VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW AT CASTROL RACEWAY

"We had the setup right and luck was on our side again tonight.  You will not win a race in this series without a little bit of good luck."  The luck the driver of the Hinton Oilfield Services #55 Chevrolet is referring to came from the bad luck of veteran racer Kelvin Bell.  "Kelvin easily had the fastest car tonight and we inherited the lead when he spun.  We've lost races this way before and it's just part of the game."  Veteran racer Kelvin Bell, filling in for Darrell Midgley, was looking for a rare event sweep in Edmonton.  The Hardisty, Alberta driver hadn't been behind the wheel of a race car in almost three seasons.  Bell drove the Lucas Oil #14 Dodge to a heat race win and then won the 'A' Dash which gave him the pole position for the Feature.  "I was feeling pretty comfortable in the Feature and started to gas it a little more to get the car quicker out of the corners. Then away it went."  Bell went to the back of the pack for the restart and fought his way back to third when the checkered flag flew.  "I had a lot of fun tonight."  Altario, Alberta's Kevin Clark finished second in the Feature and says he did all he could to try and get by Tom.  "I was working him hard for the first 10 laps but it's one thing to catch a guy.  It's another thing to try and pass him.  Mike ran a very good race."  With the Feature win, Tom expands his Championship points lead over second place Dwight Kennedy by 53 points.  Kennedy finished 5th in the Feature after running as high as second.  Radiator fluid began spraying into the cockpit of his race car which was damaged in the 'A' Dash.  After running out of tearoffs and with visibility becoming an issue, Kennedy was forced to ease off the throttle.  Whitecourt Alberta's Kevin Wheeler finished the Feature in 4th and is just 11 points back of Kennedy.  Next scheduled race for the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is Saturday, August 20th at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.                     

NPP RACE NOTES
- Mike Tom's current winning streak began at the 2010 Oilmen's Classic race in Edmonton last August. 
- Kevin Clark's 2nd place finish on Saturday night in his Clark Construction #5 Dodge was his best finish since his 4th place finish on September 19th, 2009.
- scary moment in the 'A' Dash when two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy slammed the back straight wall.  The dash was red flagged as an ambulance was called to the scene. Kennedy emerged from his race car about 10 minutes later.
- 3x NPP Series Champion Trevor Emond was special guest driver of the NPP Series Pace car on Saturday night.  
- Burlington, Washington's Jason Solwold won the 2011 Gold Cup in his Extreme Oilfield/Northern Provincial Pipelines sponsored Sprint Car.  Solwold is the only 4-time winner of the Gold Cup since it was first run in Edmonton back in 1954.

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HE'S A HURTIN' RACER
EDSON, AB. (July 29)- Two-time Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series champion Dwight Kennedy is on the mend after separate visits to hospitals in Edmonton and Hinton the last 72 hours.  Two days after crashing his Lucas Oil #81 Dodge during Gold Cup weekend at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway, the Edson Alberta driver was diagnosed with a bruised spleen, four cracked ribs and a partially collapsed lung.  "It (the diagnosis) was a surprise to me," says Kennedy, "a day after the race I could hardly move without sharp pains. It was hard to breathe.  I knew something was wrong but I sure wasn't expecting this news." 

Kennedy says he'll be ready in time for the August 20th event.  "I'm taking the doctor's advice for once," laughs Kennedy, "I'm going to watch some races on television (this long weekend) and rest for a change.  I'll be at the next race."  Kennedy, who managed a fifth place finish in the Feature after his 'A' Dash mishap, currently sits second in the NPP Late Model Series Championship points chase. Kennedy would like to thank three-time NPP Series champion Trevor Emond and the crew members from several other NPP race teams for their assistance in repairing his race car for the Feature event.  

Next NPP Late Model Series event:
Saturday, August 20th
Castrol Raceway - Edmonton, Alberta

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