OUT OF THE GATE
EDMONTON, AB. (June 4) - The long off-season comes to an end this weekend for drivers and teams of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  This Saturday and Sunday, the 13th consecutive race season kicks off with a double-header weekend at two tracks.  Castrol Raceway (Edmonton, Alberta) will host the NPP Late Model Series on Saturday night, June 8th. Less than twenty-four hours later, the season opening weekend wraps up at Central Alberta Raceways (Rimbey, Alberta) Sunday afternoon, June 9th.  Whitecourt, Alberta's Kevin Wheeler is looking at becoming the first repeat champion in the NPP Late Model Series.  It's a feat that hasn't been accomplished since the 2003, 2004 seasons by three-time champion Trevor Emond. "My crew and I have already been talking about it [repeating]," admits the driver of the KW Mechanical #3 Dodge, "a few sponsors and friends have already phoned as well asking if I can do it again."  Wheeler wrapped up the 2012 season with a win and a third in Kindersley, Saskatchewan which propelled him to his first ever NPP Series Championship.  "This is the hardest Series I've ever raced in.  We wrapped up last season on a strong note and there is no reason we can't start this season the same way." 


WHEELER WANTS A REPEAT PERFORMANCE IN 2013
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (PHOTO: STP RACING MEMORIES)

Since his race debut midway through the 2006 season, Wheeler has three Feature wins and 30 top-five finishes in 64 NPP Series starts.  "Getting wins is extremely tough in this Series.  You have to do your homework.  If you don't, you're done.  You need to hit your marks in the corners and you need a lot of luck as well."  With Feature wins in Elma, Washington, Lethbridge, Alberta and Kindersley, Saskatchewan, Wheeler has yet to register a NPP Series Feature win at either the Edmonton or Rimbey track.  "I hope to change that this weekend."  Of the 12 NPP Series Championships awarded since 2001, six of the champions won the first race of the season.  Bruce Broughton was one of those drivers.  The Stony Plain, Alberta racer won the 2010 season opener in Edmonton and would go on to win the 2010 NPP Series Championship. 


SNEAK PEAK AT BROUGHTON'S HABITAT FOR HUMANITY #61 DODGE

"It's always nice to start off the points chase with a win."  Broughton has 8 NPP Series Feature wins and 32 top-five finishes in 79 NPP Series starts.   "We've always done well in Edmonton and we won our last race at Rimbey last year."    


KENNEDY HOPING FOR STRONG START TO 2013 SEASON
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (PHOTO: STP RACING MEMORIES)

Two-time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy has won the first race of the season twice (2001 & 2008).  Kennedy won the 2001 season opener and would win the inaugural 2001 NPP Series Championship.  In 2008 Kennedy finished second in points.  "You can't be slow out of the gate," exclaims the founder of the NPP Late Model Series, "because our race seasons are so short you need to start [the season] out strong and carry that momentum to every race."

NPP SERIES SEASON OPENING WINNERS
2012    Chris Beaulieu (May 12th)           2006    Trevor Emond (May 13th)
2011    Mike Tom**
(June 4th)                2005    Jason Beaulieu (May 7th)
2010    Bruce Broughton**
(May 15th)    2004    Trevor Emond** (May 8th)
2009    Darrell Midgley**
(May 16th)     2003    Feature cancelled – snow (May 17th)
2008    Dwight Kennedy
(May 17th)        2002    Larry Simpson (May 11th)
2007    Jason Beaulieu**
(May 19th)       2001    Dwight Kennedy** (May 19th)
**also won the NPP Series Championship the same year.

———————————————————

EVENT UPDATE: (June 7th @ 2:40pm) Central Alberta Raceway officials have cancelled Sunday's oval event due to wet facility conditions. Rain has fallen at the track every day this week. Several downpours on Friday (June 7th) put moisture levels over the top. Central Alberta Raceway officials have offered Saturday, June 22nd as a rain date to the NPP Late Model Series. NPP Series officials will be in contact with drivers to discuss this date in Rimbey.

EVENT UPDATE: (June 8th @ 11:00am) Due to the cancellation of Sundays race in Rimbey and a lower than expected car count for Edmonton. Tonight's scheduled race of the NPP Late Model Series at Castrol Raceway has been turned into an open test 'n' tune for competitors. The NPP Late Model Series season opener has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 22nd at Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey, Alberta.

TEST
UPDATE
:
(June 8th @ 10:00pm) Race event started at 7:10pm or 1 hour 10 minutes late because of track preparation problems (track too dry). At 8:45pm rain mixed with hail began to fall forcing Edmonton track officials to cancel race action for the rest of the night (track too wet). The NPP Series had a total of 12 laps of testing.

NOT SO FAST
EDMONTON, AB. (June 8) - The 2013 Season Opening weekend of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has come to a sudden and screeching stop.  On Friday afternoon, track officials at Central Alberta Raceways cancelled Sunday's scheduled race event due to wet facility conditions.  In a surprise announcement Saturday morning, NPP Series official Gord Craig, stopping short of cancelling the NPP Series event in Edmonton, indicated that Saturday nights race would be turned into a open and optional test 'n' tune. After the weather cancellation of the Rimbey event, Craig sensed that there could be a car count problem for the race in Edmonton.  "I was a little worried about the car count after Rimbey pulled the pin," says Craig, "to be honest I was actually more worried about the weather."


MILLER'S ROOKIE RIDE FOR 2013

NPP Series teams welcomed the opportunity to shake down their race cars. "We've had the car for a few months and I haven't even been on the track with it yet." Mark Miller is a veteran pavement Late Model competitor from Calgary, Alberta. "After having two previous test 'n' tunes cancelled due to weather, I finally got a little bit of seat time." The NPP Series Rookie of the Year contender made his first ever laps on the dirt in his A-1 Auto Body #69 Pontiac. Unfortunately for Miller and all other competitors, a massive hail and rain storm cancelled Edmonton's race event less than two hours after the first green flag dropped.  


RAIN AND HAIL CANCELS SATURDAY NIGHT RACES IN EDMONTON

The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series returns to Central Alberta Raceways for a rain date on Saturday June 22nd. "It's pretty hard to find a track more accommodating to race teams than the track in Rimbey.  Within a few hours of cancelling the race (on Friday), Rimbey officials created a race date for those affected by the rainout."  The NPP Late Model Series will compete in Rimbey with the Sportsman Sprint Cars who also were affected by Sunday's rainout. The NPP Series then travels to Dinosaur Downs Speedway in Drumheller, Alberta for a two-day show with the IMCA Modifieds on the Canada Day long weekend.

————————————————————————

WEATHER WOES AND WONDERS
EDMONTON, AB. (June 10) - For the seventh time in thirteen seasons the opening weekend of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series was affected by the weather.  "It's an unfortunate fact of motorsport life," says NPP Series media relations director Gord Craig, "rainouts happen."  Track officials at Central Alberta Raceway's cancelled their Sunday, June 9th event due to torrential rains on Friday and an unfavorable weekend forecast.  Edmonton track officials declared a rainout of their Saturday night race event about an hour and a half after the first green flag dropped.  Ironically the rainout in Edmonton won't be listed in the NPP Series record books as a lost race event. 


EDMONTON GOT POUNDED BY BAD WEATHER SATURDAY NIGHT

In a surprise move Saturday morning, Craig announced that the NPP Series appearance in Edmonton would be 'optional' for teams and drivers and that the Saturday night event would not be a points race but a test 'n' tune.  "My decision at the time [Saturday morning] was not very popular with some drivers or the Edmonton track."  Craig admits that there were several factors which influenced his decision.  "I was a little worried about a reduced car count after Rimbey pulled the pin.  To be honest I was actually more concerned about the weather." 


IF PREDICTING THE WEATHER ON A RACE NIGHT WAS ONLY THIS SIMPLE

The NPP Series got a grand total of 12 test 'n' tune laps before the rain and hail storm struck the facility.  "When it comes to the weather, the month of June has never been kind to us," adds Craig, "it seems to be our Achilles heel when it comes to scheduling."  Dating back to the 2002 season, only 17 of 29 scheduled events in the month of June have been completed.  "It's a scary thought but we've seen 41% of our June races rained out."  Weather wise, August has been one of the good months to the NPP Late Model Series.  "It's also been our busiest race months over the years.  Of the 47 NPP Series events scheduled in August since the 2001season, only 4 have had to been lost due to rain." 


RAIN HAPPENS (NPP SERIES ARCHIVES: 2008 PHOTO)

With the most recent rainouts, track officials in Rimbey have already offered a rain date to the NPP Late Model Series.  "We appreciate them trying to help us out and the other classes affected by Sundays rainout.  We will be back at Central Alberta Raceways on Saturday, June 22nd for another attempt at getting our 2013 season underway."  The Edmonton race will not be rescheduled.  

————————————————————————

EVENT UPDATE: (as of Friday, June 21st at 8:30am) Central Alberta Raceway officials have cancelled all race events this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, June 22 & 23) due to torrential rains the past 36 hours. No word on any rescheduling at this time.

EYES ON THE SKY
RIMBEY, AB. (June 19) -  Officials with the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series and Central Alberta Raceways are casting their eyes upwards once again.  "This is getting ridiculous," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig "our rainout date in Rimbey could be in jeopardy from mother nature once again." Environment Canada is calling for close to 50mm of rain in the Red Deer and Rimbey region on Thursday.  More rain is expected on Friday.  "The two days leading up to this weekend's race are not looking good," admits Craig,  "ironically the weather forecast looks incredible for our Saturday, June 22nd event with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the low 20's."  Unfortunately, significant rainfall hampers efforts of track crews when it comes to preparing the dirt/clay oval racing surface for competition.  Too much moisture also softens the pit area for competitors. "We don't need this at all," says Craig, "we really would like to start our race season this weekend." 


NPP SERIES RIMBEY APPEARANCE IN 2012

The NPP Late Model Series was scheduled to start its race season in Rimbey, Alberta back on June 9th.  "We got rained out so officials in Rimbey quickly offered us a rainout date [June 22nd]."  Despite the dismal weather forecast, track officials in Rimbey are optimistic about this weekend.  "We had equipment on the track today [Wednesday]," exclaims Dennis Pendergast, director of oval operations,  "we had a little bit of rain but not the downpours that other areas [of the province] got.  We've already had back to back rainouts here. It sure would be nice to get our 2013 oval season underway."  With the added Saturday rainout date, Central Alberta Raceways is holding its first-ever Saturday and Sunday oval race weekend. Central Alberta Raceways tried hosting its first ever two-day oval show last season featuring the NPP Late Model Series. Unfortunately for both organizations the weekend was a total loss due to torrential rains.  All fingers and toes remained crossed for this weekends race.

PAST NPP SERIES FEATURE WINNER
AT CENTRAL ALBERTA RACEWAYS

June 23, 2012 - Bruce Broughton
June 9, 2012 - rained out
June 8, 2012 - rained out
2011 Season - no Rimbey race scheduled
June 12, 2010 - rained out
June 6, 2009 - rained out
July 26, 2008 - Brian McCaughan
July 28, 2007 - Feature cancelled (dust)
May 26, 2007 - snowed out
July 29, 2006 - rained out
May 13, 2006 - Trevor Emond
July 30, 2005 - Dwight Kennedy


Rimbey, Alberta
-
>
SATURDAY, June 22nd

Spectator Gates @ 4:00pm
Racing @ 5:00pm
-
Classes Racing:
-NPP Late Model Series
-Sportsman Sprint Cars
-Mini Stocks
    
> SUNDAY, June 23rd
Spectator Gates @ 1:00pm
Racing @ 2:00pm
-
Classes Racing:
-Sportsman Sprint Cars
-Northern Thunder Late Models
-Hobby Stocks
-Mini Stocks

SPECTATOR ADMISSION (Saturday or Sunday)
$10.00  General
$5.00    Youth (age 9 -12)
Free     (age 8 and under)

————————————————————————

RAINOUT DATE RAINED OUT
RIMBEY, AB. (June 22) - The official start to the 2013 race season has been delayed once again for race teams of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  The June 22nd 'rainout' date at Central Alberta Raceways was rained out on the weekend.  "This is the first time ever that we've lost a rainout date due to the weather," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "right now two words come to mind.  Very frustrated.  But what can you do." 


TORRENTIAL RAINS BLASTED C.A.R. ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
---------------------------------------------------
(PHOTO COURTESY: APNImages)

The original June 9th NPP Series race in Rimbey was rained out, however track officials quickly declared June 22nd as a rainout date for all racing divisions affected.  "I feel really bad for track organizers in Rimbey. They bend over backwards for the local racing community."  Because of inclement weather and rainouts in May and June, both the NPP Late Model Series and Central Alberta Raceways organizations have yet to start their respective 2013 Oval seasons.  "This is the third consecutive rainout for the Rimbey track. We've [NPP Series] lost three consecutive opportunities to be on the track as well due to bad weather." 


MINI LAKE FORMS NEAR TURN 1 AFTER MASSIVE RAIN STORMS
---------------------------------------------------
(PHOTO COURTESY: APNImages)

When the green flag finally does wave, it will be the latest start to a race season in NPP Series history.  "Back in 2011 we started our race season on June 4th because of rainouts in May.  In the past we usually had our race seasons up and running by the third week of May." Record rainfall has plagued much of Central and Southern Alberta the past week.  "We are already looking at our next scheduled race event [in Drumheller] and are keeping our fingers crossed," admits Craig, "we need to get our season started." The NPP Late Model Series last competed in Drumheller in 2009.    

NPP LATE MODEL SERIES
FIRST RACE OF SEASON

2013* - still waiting!!!
2012 - May 12th
2011* - June 4th
2010* - May 15th
2009* - May 16th
2008* - May 17th
2007* - May 19th
2006* - May 13th
2005 - May 7th
2004 - May 8th
2003* - May 17th
2002 - May 11th
2001 - May 19th
-
*denotes delayed start to race season due to weather.

————————————————————————

BANG THE DRUM
DRUMHELLER, AB. (June 25) - The anticipated return of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series to Dinosaur Downs Speedway in southern Alberta is on hold.  "We unfortunately have to cancel this weekend's race event," says Drumheller Ag Society and track president Mike Hansen, "it wasn't an easy decision to make but it is the right one."  Record rainfall the month of June has swollen rivers in Southern Alberta.  Many have overflowed their banks. Last week, devastating flood conditions decimated Canmore, High River and parts of Calgary, Alberta.  Rising river waters are now making their way through the Drumheller and Medicine Hat regions. On the weekend, close to 3,700 residents in the Drumheller area were forced to leave their homes due to flooding from the swollen Red Deer River.  A state of emergency remains in effect.  Rising waters did not affect Dinosaur Downs Speedway due to its location on higher ground south west of Drumheller.  The track however was on the receiving end of some heavy rains. 


DINOSAUR DOWNS SPEEDWAY
----------------------------------------------------------------
(PHOTO: NPP SERIES ARCHIVES)

Drier and hotter weather was forecast for the Saturday and Sunday, June 29th and 30th race event.  The determining factor that forced track officials to cancel the long weekend race is a lack of safety crew.  "Ambulance and fire crews are currently focused on the safety and well being of Drumheller residents and will not be available for this weekend's event at Dinosaur Downs Speedway."  Track officials have not yet announced a rain-out date for the cancelled race weekend.  The NPP Late Model Series was the support class for the IMCA Modifieds competing at the 2013 Raptor Run on the Canada Day long weekend. This was to have been the first NPP Series race date in Drumheller, Alberta since the 2009 season.

The next scheduled race for the NPP Late Model Series is Friday and Saturday, July 19th and 20th at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.

————————————————————————

WHEELS OVER SANGUDO
SANGUDO, AB. (June 30) - The unofficial start to the 2013 race season began for two Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competitors on the Canada Day long weekend.  Defending NPP Series Champion Kevin Wheeler and his brother Wayne Wheeler brought their race cars out to Sangudo Speedway Sunday afternoon.  "Boy that felt good," exclaims Kevin Wheeler, "we haven't had the car on the track this year due to all the cancellations and rain outs."  The scheduled NPP Late Model Series event at Dinosaur Downs Speedway in Drumheller, Alberta (June 29 & 30) was cancelled by track officials due to the floods in Southern Alberta.  Scheduled race events in Rimbey and Edmonton were also cancelled due to rain. "We got the cobwebs shaken off.  The car ran excellent.  Let's hope we can finally get our season underway without any more interruptions." 


WAYNE & KEVIN WHEELER HOT LAPPING AT SANGUDO SPEEDWAY

NPP Series Rookie of the Year contender Wayne Wheeler welcomed the seat time in Sangudo, Alberta as well.  "I raced my car once last year [in Edmonton] and have been counting down the days to the beginning of this season."  Wheeler, who is also a motocross competitor, says he'll be behind a steering wheel more than handlebars this summer.   "I'm focused on the NPP Series this year instead of motocross," admits Wheeler, "I was racing at Antler Lake a couple weekends ago but I'm not chasing points.  I am going to keep my brother on his toes in the NPP Series this year."  Both Kevin and Wayne Wheeler had three lengthy on-track sessions in their NPP Late Model race cars. 


CENTER STAGE FOR THE WHEELER BROTHERS AT SANGUDO, ALBERTA

"We got to experience changing track conditions," says Kevin Wheeler, "my brother actually surprised me today. He can sure wheel a car.  He was hooked up way better than I was in our last session.  I couldn't catch him."  Kevin Wheeler trailed his brother by about three-car lengths at the end of the final test session.  "I was going to offer up some pointers but he may not need them."  The next scheduled race event of the NPP Late Model Series season is a two-day show at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.  The NPP Late Model Series is the backup class to the open-wheeled sprint cars at the annual Gold Cup race on Friday and Saturday July 19th and 20th.   

NPP SERIES -THE INSIDE TRACK
- Kevin Wheeler's two sons (Chase and Cruz) were also having some fun Sunday afternoon.  The 10 and 11 year olds were out on the oval track in their mini sprint cars.
- a major rain storm passed through the region around 4AM Sunday morning.  The start time of 1:00pm was delayed by 45 minutes.  Once underway, the event took just 3 hours 7 minutes to complete.  Track conditions were near perfect for a daytime race. 
- NPP Late Model Series officials were present at Sangudo Speedway watching Sunday's test 'n' tune.  The last official appearance of the NPP Series at Sangudo Speedway was August 12th, 2001. 

—————————————————————
—————————————————————