THUNDER NEAR THE VALLEY
ROCKY RAPIDS, AB (June 2) - Close to a decade of dormancy comes to an end for a racing facility located north-east of Drayton Valley, Alberta.  After a successful two-day test and tune last month, the grand re-opening of Rapid Fire Motorsports Park / Drayton Valley Speedway runs this Saturday and Sunday (June 4 & 5).  Sportsman Sprint Cars, Wissota Late Models, Modifieds, Stock Cars, Mini Stocks and the Alberta Sprint Kart Club highlight the on-track action.  The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series was the last class to compete at Rapid Fire Motorsports Park back on August 20, 2006. 


CRAIG CALLING THE ACTION AT RAPID FIRE MOTORSPORTS PARK IN 2006

Although the NPP Late Model Series is not participating at the grand re-opening, NPP Series announcer Gord Craig will be guest announcer this weekend.  "I was here for that last race close to ten years ago, " says Craig,  "can't wait to click the microphone back on to welcome back fans and competitors."  Many of the teams that will compete this weekend at Drayton Valley Speedway did not get the chance to race at the facility during the brief time it was open.  "I haven't seen an entry list yet but I can almost say with certainty that probably 80% of the drivers that will be in the pits this weekend will be first time visitors to the facility."  Several NPP Late Model Series teams are expected to be in the grandstands for the weekend show.  NPP Series officials remain hopeful that they can add a Drayton Valley race weekend to the 2016 schedule.        


2016 SEASON OPENER / GRAND RE-OPENING

> SATURDAY, June 4th
Gates @ NOON
Alberta Sprint Kart Club on track starting just after 12 NOON
Racing @ 5:00pm for all other classes

> SUNDAY, June 5th
Gates @ NOON
Racing @ 1:00pm

SPECTATOR ADMISSION (Sat. or Sun.)
$10.00 General
$5.00   Seniors
$5.00   Children (6 - 14)
Free     Children 5 and under

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READY FOR RIMBEY
RIMBEY, AB (June 7)  - Officials and race teams of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series are hopeful they can get the 2016 season underway this Friday and Saturday night (June 10/11).  Due to last month's rainout (May 28) at Castrol Raceway, Central Alberta Raceways inherited the NPP Series 2016 season opener.  The Rimbey, Alberta oval track hosted its first and only NPP Series season opener ten years ago under the exact same circumstances. "It was back in 2006," recalls NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "the first race of the year (in Edmonton) was rained out.  The next race on the schedule was Rimbey."  Ironically, Central Alberta Raceways was scheduled to host the 2014 season opener of the NPP Late Model Series.  This race was unfortunately rained-out handing the Edmonton track the NPP Series season opener in 2014.  "I don't know what it is with the NPP Series and season opening rainouts. Maybe we should just stop calling the first race of the year the season opener." 


NPP SERIES RACING IN RIMBEY THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT

Since 2005 only two seasons have started off according to the schedule.  "We guessed right last year," laughs Craig, "we scheduled our opener towards the end of May and it worked."  Darrell Midgley won the 2015 NPP Series season opener and would later go on to win the NPP Series Championship. The Sidney, British Columbia driver has the opportunity this weekend to become just the third driver in the 16 year history of the NPP Series to win back to back season openers. The two-time NPP Series champion could become the first driver in NPP Series history to win three season openers.   Midgley leads all NPP Series drivers with three Feature event wins at the Rimbey, Alberta track.

NPP LATE MODEL SERIES SEASON OPENING WINNERS
2016    ???????
2015    Darrell Midgley
2014    Kevin Wheeler
2013    Kevin Wheeler
2012    Chris Beaulieu
2011    Mike Tom
2010    Bruce Broughton
2009    Darrell Midgley
2008    Dwight Kennedy
2007    Jason Beaulieu
2006    Trevor Emond
2005    Jason Beaulieu
2004    Trevor Emond
2003    Feature cancelled - snow
2002    Larry Simpson
2001    Larry Simpson

 


RIMBEY, ALBERTA

> FRIDAY, JUNE 10th
6:00pm - Spectator Gates
7:00pm - Racing

> SATURDAY, JUNE 11th
5:00pm - Spectator Gates
6:00pm - Racing

Classes Racing (both nights): Sportsman Sprints / Modifieds / NPP Late Model Series
Hobby and Mini Stocks


SPECTATOR ADMISSION (Fri or Sat)
$50.00 Family Pass
$20.00 General
$10.00 Youth (9 -15)
$10.00 Seniors
Free Children (8 and under)

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FEATURE WINS FOR MILLER AND MIDGLEY
RIMBEY, AB (June 12)  - Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series champions Mark Miller and Darrell Midgley each grabbed a Feature win at Central Alberta Raceways on the weekend.  Miller, the 2014 NPP Series Champion, won the 2016 season opener on Friday night.  Midgley, the two-time and defending NPP Series Champion, drove to victory lane Saturday night.  Thanks to winning heat races both nights, Midgley emerged from the Rimbey, Alberta race weekend as the early season points leader.  "I wasn't very good Friday night," admits the Sidney, British Columbia driver, "the car was just fine,  I just messed up so I gotta own that.  We just came back Saturday night and got it done."  Midgley spun early in the Friday night Feature event and spent the rest of the race playing catch-up.  There was a little bit of consolation for Midgley Friday night. His Integra Tire (Edson) #14 Dodge was the fastest car on the track posting the sixth quickest lap time in NPP Series history with a 17.03.  "Friday night was a real heavy track," adds Midgley,   "it was all about speed and carrying your momentum through the corners.  Saturday night, it was finesse.  Float the car in (to the corners) and pretend you had an egg under the throttle."   Midgley has won four of the last eight Feature events competed at Central Alberta Raceways.


#14 DARRELL MIDGLEY: SATURDAY NIGHT FEATURE WINNER

Mark Miller  sits second in the NPP Series Championship points chase after the season opening weekend.  Miller opened the season with a Feature win Friday night and a fourth place finish Saturday night.  "Every year we've started off fairly slow, so this is definitely nice to start off (the season) with a Feature win."  The handling of the A1 Autobody #69 Chevrolet was suspect at times on opening night.  "The first two heat races we tried a setup that we've never done before.  It wasn't too successful with it.  Went back to what we know best and it worked well and we managed to get a win."  Handling problems hampered the performance of Millers car once again on Saturday night something the team will address before the next race. 


#69 MARK MILLER: FRIDAY NIGHT FEATURE WINNER

Bruce Broughton and Shawn Kennedy were the other Heat race winners from the season opening weekend.  Both drivers also sat on the pole for the Friday and Saturday night Feature events.  For Broughton it was the 5th time he's had pole position at the Rimbey track.  Broughton was also the first NPP Series driver to have pole position at Central Alberta Raceways inaugural oval event back in 2005.

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OUT OF SYNC
EDMONTON, AB (June 19) - The official website of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series was down for the count between Friday, June 17th and Sunday, June 19th.  "It wasn't on our end," explains NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "there was a bit of a technical malfunction downstream which caused some major issues.  If you tried to get onto our website, you were lucky to even see our countdown clock."  


ONE OF MANY 'ERROR' MESSAGES SHOWN ON THE WEEKEND

Those that were able to gain partial access to the NPP Series website on the weekend were in for a trip down memory lane.  "The 'Ready for Rimbey' news story was being shown as the latest news for the Series.  We already know that Mark Miller and Darrell Midgley drove to victory lane at this race.  It must have felt like a bit of a time-warp for anyone visiting the website." 


RACE #1 & #2 WINNERS: MILLER AND MIDGLEY
...................................................... (photos: Stpracing memories)

The NPP Series website was functioning normally by 4:05pm Sunday afternoon (June 19th). "Don't want to have this kind of a hiccup again." The NPP Late Model Series website was launched May 1st, 2007. Today it see's anywhere between 4,000 - 5,000 visits a month during the race season.

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SILENCING THE DRUM
EDMONTON, AB (June 23) -  The much anticipated return of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series to Drumheller, Alberta is on hold for at least another year.  The NPP Late Model Series is cancelling its scheduled Canada Day long weekend appearance (July 1st/2nd) at Dinosaur Downs Speedway.  "We've got a car count problem," exclaims series announcer Gord Craig, "we saw it at our season opener earlier this month in Rimbey.  Unfortunately the car count was not going to improve for Drumheller."  Only five NPP Series teams made the journey to Central Alberta Raceways for the June 10th and 11th event.  "The teams that showed up [in Rimbey] put on a terrific show but the lack of cars on the track was glaring."  From 2005 to 2014, the average NPP Series car count for race events in Rimbey was sixteen. At the NPP Late Model Series debut/2007 season opener in Drumheller (at Hidden Valley Motorsports Park), twenty-one teams were on the property. The scheduled event in Drumheller, Alberta on the 2013 Canada Day long weekend was unfortunately rained out.


21 TEAMS RACED AT THE DRUMHELLER DEBUT IN 2007

The current state of the Alberta economy is getting a lot of the blame for the depleted car count.  "Many of our drivers are business owners," says Craig, "they've told me they are feeling the pinch when it comes to the major slowdown of the economy."  Cancelling a race event is always a last resort for race officials.  "Before the Drumheller cancellation, we've only had to cancel four scheduled appearance since 2001.  This is the first ever two-day race cancellation."  The NPP Late Model Series is not the only Alberta based racing class that is experiencing a competitor shortage.  "I think we are the only ones publicly admitting it," exclaims Craig, "I've been to several tracks already this year and car counts are down across the board."  NPP Late Model Series officials are carefully examining the remaining race dates for 2016.  "With the Drumheller cancellation, we have quite the gap in our schedule.  Right now our next scheduled race date isn't till the middle of August.  All options are on the table."

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