EDMONTON, AB (May 2) – Race teams of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series now have a few extra weeks to prepare for the revised start of the 2008 championship chase. Track officials at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta were forced to cancel the May 3rd season opener due to extreme wet conditions. “The capital region had a major midweek rainstorm,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “combine this with last week’s major snowstorm and it was double hit for everyone. There is still a lot of moisture out at that facility.” Rain amounts totaled around 20mm. Snow amounts totaled around 30cm. The snowstorm also cancelled the scheduled test 'n' tune day at the track April 26th. “We sure haven't had much luck at our home track these past few years.” This is the fourth time in the past five seasons the first race of the year in Edmonton has been affected by the weather. “Its very frustrating not only for all race teams but for race fans who have been waiting very patiently for season opening day. Special promotion’s by Castrol Raceway was ensuring a capacity crowd for the season opener. Ironically the weather would have been perfect. “No wind, plenty of sunshine and a temperature around 17Celcius Saturday night,” added Craig, “it was pretty tough to look at the empty grandstands on such a perfect night for racing.”

Castrol Raceway had perfect weather
for racing Saturday night.  Unfortunately
the track surface was in no condition
to race on after recent major rain and snow storms.

Two time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy was ready to see the first green flag of the season wave.  “Just barely,” laughs the Edson Alberta driver, “we were applying decals on the car Friday night and still clamping down the motor.  Now we can rest a little bit and prepare for Okotoks.”  With the rainout in Edmonton, Southern Alberta race fans will get to see a NPP Season opening race for the second year in a row.  Rocky Mountain Raceway Park plays host to the NPP Shootout Weekend on Saturday and Sunday May 17th and 18th.       


RICHMOND, VA (May 4) There was plenty of anticipation heading into Friday nights race at Richmond International Raceway.  One week ago at Talladega Superspeedway, Canada’s DJ Kennington was less than 30 laps away from scoring his first ever top 10 finish in a NASCAR Nationwide Series event.  Then a right rear tire blew on the Northern Provincial Pipelines #81 Dodge.  This led to a three car crash which ended Kennington’s day.  “We couldn’t wait for the next race,” indicates the St. Thomas Ontario driver, “we were disappointed with the crash but we proved to ourselves that we could run at the front with NASCAR’s big guns.”  The adrenaline, which carried over from the Alabama race, quickly evaporated as Kennington had his slowest qualifying effort of the season (39th) at Richmond.  Kennington was the first driver on the track, which is often a disadvantage to any race team.  “We just missed the set up that’s all.  Yes we were first out and yes the track got a lot quicker during the qualifying session.  It’s no excuse we just missed it that’s all.  We were slow.”  With a slow qualifying effort the thought of finishing near the back of the pack at Richmond quickly faded as Kennington gained several positions early in the race. However, the flow of the race would hurt Kenningtons chances of finishing well in the end.  “The long green flag runs killed us,’ sigh’s Kennington, “at these short track races, it’s all about the car, all about aerodynamics and it’s especially all about brakes.”  Kennington would finish the race in 27th. 

(photo supplied)
Fading brakes cost Kennington (#81) at least 5 positions
at Richmond International Raceway Friday night.  

“We were running out of brakes during those long runs without a yellow.  If there were a few more yellows near the end of the race I’m pretty confident we could have finished 23rd or maybe 22nd.” The difference between big NASCAR Stock Car teams and smaller race teams like Kenningtons was evident at Richmond International Raceway Friday night.  “There are some cars here that are running $25,000 worth of brakes.  I think the brake system on our car cost us around $2,000.  It’s just the reality of racing when you’re up against the world’s best stock car teams.  There are several other smaller teams like us that are in the same situation.  You make do with what you have and run the best that you can.”  Next race for DJ Kennington and team is Friday, May 9th.  It’s another short track race at a facility nicknamed the ‘Lady in Black.’  “Darlinton Raceway is another new track that we’ve never raced at,” says Kennington, “apparently we have some extra practice time available to us so we are going to take advantage of that.”  Kennington enters this weekend’s event in the State of Virginia 22nd in point’s, just 26 points back of a top 20 spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.

Darlington Raceway – Darlington, South Carolina

Practice #1: Thursday, May 8th (1:00pm – Edmonton time)
Practice #2: Thursday, May 8th (3:40pm – Edmonton time)
Practice #3: Thursday, May 8th (6:10pm – Edmonton time)
Qualifying: Friday, May 9th (1:10pm – Edmonton time)
Race: Friday, May 9th (5:30pm – Edmonton time)


DARLINGTON, SC (May 11th) – Darlington Raceway is one of the toughest tracks that NASCAR Nationwide Series competitors will race on this season.  The track nicknamed the ‘Lady in Black’ was waiting for Canada’s DJ Kennington on Friday night.  “Never ran here before,” says the St. Thomas, Ontario driver, “from what I was told by other team’s is that you have to give this track a ton of respect or it will reach out and grab you.”  For the second race in a row, Kennington would be one of the first cars out for qualifying.  “It usually is a disadvantage to go early but you just have to deal with it.”  Kennington would qualify the MC2 Energy Drink / Northern Provincial Pipelines #81 Dodge in the 33rd position. 

Kennington finishes 20th in Darlington (PHOTOS: Mitchell Gill)

Despite missing the setup in qualifying, Kenningtons crew would find the magic combination for the race.  “The setup was there and we had a few breaks come our way too.”  Numerous caution periods (for accidents) during the race allowed  Kennington to cool down his brakes.  “Short track races are all about the car, aerodynamics and especially the brakes.  The yellow flags near the end of the race couldn’t have been timed any better for us.  We also avoided the big wreck at the end of the race too.”  When the checkered flag flew Kennington would finish 20th.  “First time running here in Darlinton, best finish ever in a NASCAR race.  I’m pretty pumped right now.”  Kennington’s strongest showing of the season moves him into 21st position in the NASCAR Nationwide Standings 8 points back of Kevin Lepage who holds down 20th.  Kennington is only 77 points back of 19th place Tony Stewart who was the race winner.  “We are moving in the right direction. A few more top 20’s would be nice before we reach mid season.  Hey a top 10 could be possible too!”   

CARQUEST Auto Parts 300
Lowes Motor Speedway – Charlotte, North Carolina

Practice #1: Thursday, May 22nd (11:00am – Edmonton time)
Practice #2: Thursday, May 22nd (4:00pm – Edmonton time)
Qualifying: Saturday, May 24th (1:45pm – Edmonton time)
Race: Saturday, May 24th (5:45pm – Edmonton time)


WHITECOURT, AB (May 11th) – Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series drivers and teams were out in force over the weekend in Whitecourt, Alberta.  Six race teams put on an impressive display at the annual Whitecourt Trade Fair.  “I was told that attendance was up dramatically this year,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “organizers said that the race car display had a huge impact on the number of people that came through the doors.”

FIRST LOOK! Race cars of rookie drivers Travis Day (#10) and Corry MacDougall (#4) at Motorsports Expo 2008 which was a major feature of the Whitecourt Trade Fair.

The NPP display was part of Motorsport Expo 2008.  “This is the first year that the Motor Sport Expo has been organized” says Whitecourt Chamber of Commerce manager Cheryl Munro, “there are a lot of racers in the (Whitecourt) area that the community isn’t aware of and we wanted to showcase these different types of sports.”  It wasn’t just NPP Late Model Series race teams that participated.  Motorcycles, ATV’s, a racing boat, and two race teams from the Scott Safety Alberta Sprint tour were also on display.  “It was great to be able to mingle with the other racers,” adds Craig, “we all agreed that this inaugural trade fair display was huge for motorsports.”

Other NPP teams on display: #12 Paul Grundberg / #8 Pat Fines / #88 Crystal Kennedy


WHITECOURT, AB (May 11th) – The All Weather Windows, Lucas Oil sponsored NPP Late Model Series pace car made its public debut in Whitecourt over the weekend.  Two time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy was impressed.  “You can’t go wrong with a Dodge Charger leading the pack before a big feature race,” smiles the Edson, Alberta driver, “we intend to have the #81 Dodge out in front many times season.”  The NPP Late Model Series acquired the 2008 Dodge Charger in late December. 

“There are less than 15 Dodge Charger pace cars in all of North America,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “it’s a pretty rare site especially here in Western Canada.  I know the major sponsors of the Series (All Weather Windows, Lucas Oil) will be impressed when they see it in person for the first time.”  The Dodge Charger pace car is outfitted with a special pace car package, LED light bar on the roof, LED strobes in the grill and fog lamps.  “The NPP pace car is a daily driver so there is additional exposure for the series itself and sponsors away from the race track.”  Numerous displays are planned for the NPP Series official pace car this summer. 


EDMONTON, AB (May 13) - The chase for the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series championship and its incredible $200,000+ prize purse begins this long holiday weekend.  Rocky Mountain Raceway Park south of Calgary, hosts the Rocky Mountain Shootout season opener.  “It has been seven long months since we last raced,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “with the new race format plus the new spec carburetor and the new car/weight rules that were announced during the winter months, this is one of the most anticipated season openers in NPP Series history.”  The format change drops three heat races but adds two dash events.  The new spec carburetor adds about 100 extra horsepower.  Highly restrictive car set up rules were eliminated which allows an open market for set up combinations. “Canada’s richest racing Series on the dirt just got a whole lot faster for 2008.”  The defending NPP Series Champion is looking forward to the first race weekend of 2008.  “We won the season opener last year in Drumheller,” says Jason Beaulieu, “the Okotoks season opener this year will be very challenging.  I love racing there.  It’s a tight cornered track, a driver’s track.” 

Defending NPP Season Champion Jason Beaulieu

The Campbell River, BC racer drove the All Weather Windows #46 to a fourth place finish at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park last season.  “Its one track I have never won at.  Came close in 2006 when I finished second. So maybe this will be the year.”  Beaulieu will have two chances to grab a feature event win in Okotoks.  The season opening weekend is a two day show at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park.  “The races this Saturday and Sunday are going to be interesting that’s for sure,” says Spruce Grove, Alberta’s Bruce Broughton, “the cars will be so much different with the new rules.  Its anything goes as far as setting it up for the track.  Toss in the extra horsepower and it certainly could be a wild weekend.” 

Bruce Broughton wants a Top 5 finish in the points or better this season.

The driver of the LJB Auto/MDM Foundations sponsored #61 had hoped for some track time before the first race.  "Losing the test and tune day in Edmonton (snow & rain) sure didn’t help.  I’d give anything for 10 bonus laps by myself on a race track somewhere.  Right now its throw a big dart at the board and hope it sticks.” 

Weekend FYI:  Okotoks, Alberta’s Brian McCaughan makes his NPP Series debut on his home track in the Lucas Oil #42 Dodge. 

Rocky Mountain Raceway Park – Okotoks/High River, Alberta

>SATURDAY, May 17th
Pit Gates: 4:00pm
Spectator Gates: 5:00pm
Racing: 6:00pm

>SUNDAY, May 18th
Pit Gates: 2:00pm  
Spectator Gates: 3:00pm
Racing: 4:00pm


OKOTOKS, AB (May 17) - A frightening crash at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park on the weekend.  “We knew it was going to be a rough, tough race weekend,” says Spruce Grove Alberta’s Bruce Broughton, “but this was a little bit ridiculous.”  The crash happened on the very first lap of Saturday nights ‘B’ dash.  “Track officials were putting down a little water on the dirt track all night in an effort to keep the dust down,’ says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “drivers were allowed a few pace laps to work the moisture into the racing surface before the green was thrown.”  The LJB Auto/MDM Foundations #61 Chevy found a slippery spot high in corner one and slapped the wall about 80mph.  “Very scary crash,” adds Craig, “I felt the impact all the way up in the announcer’s tower.”  To make matters worse driver Pat Fines found the same slippery section and slid his Orion Environment Services #8 Dodge sideways into Broughton’s car.  “I got it from both sides,” says a frustrated Broughton, “I’m just fortunate that I didn’t drive head on into the wall.  I feel very bad for my sponsors.  This incident should not have happened.”  Rocky Mountain Raceway track officials are now reviewing watering procedures during race events. 



(May 19) - Darlington Raceway in South Carolina is often called the track too tough to tame. Canada's dirt track version could easily be Rocky Mountain Raceway Park just outside of Okotoks, Alberta. The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicked off its 2008 season at the Southern Alberta race track over the Victoria Day long weekend.  “Two extremely tough nights for race teams,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “not too many cars came away without scrapes or body damage.”  Track conditions changed frequently both nights.  “It caught a lot of drivers off guard,” adds Craig, “even veteran drivers found themselves looking the wrong way down the track on occasion.” 

Kennedy wins first feature race of 2008 NPP Season

Saturday night was the first time many NPP drivers had been on a racetrack since September of last year.  “Other than the ‘A’ Dash, there was very little flow to the race Saturday night.  I think the winter cobwebs were quite obvious.  Sunday’s race though was completely the opposite.  It was probably one of the most entertaining and unpredictable races in a very long time.” As some NPP teams struggled with race car handling others have already adapted to the new car ‘set up’ rules which were implemented during the off season.  Sidney British Columbia’s Darrell Midgley, Stony Plain Alberta’s Mike Tom and Whitecourt Alberta’s Kevin Wheeler won both the Saturday and Sunday sessions of heat races.  A familiar name graced victory lane Saturday night.  Dwight Kennedy drove his NPP/Lucas Oil sponsored #81 Dodge to victory lane.  “You can’t win a race on the first lap,” says Kennedy, “patience is a virtue at this track.”  Kennedy was referring to numerous spins during the feature event.  Whitecourt’s Paul Grundberg placed second and Edson’s Ken Clark finished third. 

Grundberg is the early season point leader with a win and a second at RMRP.

Sundays feature was one of the wildest race events in years.  At times it appeared that no one wanted to be in first place. Defending season champion Jason Beaulieu had pole position.  The Campbell River BC driver and his All Weather Windows sponsored #46 Dodge would be sent to the back of the pack as he spun on the very first lap after being tapped from behind.  Paul Grundberg would then lead for ten laps before he too spun out.  Grundberg would be sent to the back of the pack.  Beaulieu, Grundberg and Kevin Clark, who was sent to the back for an early race spin, would all make hard charges to the front.  With Midgley the new race leader, Mike Tom and Dwight Kennedy would challenge the BC driver for a-half dozen laps until Kennedys hood would fly up ending his run.  Enter Jason Beaulieu, Kevin Clark and Paul Grundberg, who fought their way from the back of the pack into the top 5.  With six laps remaining Mike Tom would take over the race lead from Midgley.  Tom however would spin two laps later collecting both Midgley and Beaulieu.  With three cars stopped on the track, Kevin Clark would be handed the race lead. History would appear to be on Clarks side this night.  The driver of the Clark Construction #5 Dodge won his first ever Feature race at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park last season.  In a cruel twist of fate, Clark would be the fourth driver of the night to spin while leading the feature.  “I changed my driving line,” says the Altario, Alberta driver, “I made it from the back of the pack to the front running the high line. I decided to move to the middle of the track for the remaining laps.  I just lost it that’s all.  I can’t really say any more than that.”  With Clark’s misfortune, last years rookie of the year would find himself leading the feature for the second time and would grab his first ever NPP Lade Model Feature event in his Carlan Services #12 Pontiac.  “There was no chance I was going to give away the lead twice,” says Grundberg, “we had a pretty good weekend here, the car is in pretty good shape.  We’ll dust it off and prepare for the next race in Lethbridge.”  Sherwood Parks Curtis Moore would finish second and rookie driver Travis Day from Whitecourt would finish third.


EDMONTON, AB (May 25th) – Due to circumstances beyond the control of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series, the race event scheduled for the first weekend of August at Electric City Speedway in Great Falls Montana has been cancelled.  “It’s disappointing that’s for sure,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “this was going to be the first of two international trips for NPP teams during the month of August.” 

NPP race teams are still scheduled to compete at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma Washington the last weekend of August.  “It’s a little hiccup as far as scheduling is concerned,” adds Craig, "it’s just unfortunate that this had to take place two weeks into our season.”  With the loss of the race in Great Falls, track management at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park was quick to step in offering to adjust their schedule to accommodate the NPP Series. 

At this point RMRP will host the NPP Late Model Series on Saturday August 2nd with Sunday August 3rd as a possible race date as well.  “There is talk that the new oval track in Drumheller will be open the same weekend, so there is a chance we could run Okotoks on Saturday and Drumheller on Sunday.” RMRP and Hidden Valley Motorsports Park (a new track name is expected) are located less than 200 kilometers apart.

TURN 1 at DRUMHELLER (taken February 2008)

"Drumheller was one of the first tracks we talked to when planning the 2008 schedule. NPP teams loved running there last year. The timeline for the converting the 1/2 mile chuckwagon track into an race ready stock car facility is looking pretty good." The NPP Series hopes to finalize the August long weekend schedule sometime in June.    

>Saturday, Aug. 2nd: Rocky Mountain Raceway Park - Okotoks, Alberta (confirmed)

>Sunday, August 3rd (tentative)<
Rocky Mountain Raceway Park – Okotoks, Alberta
Hidden Valley Motorsports Park – Drumheller, Alberta


EDMONTON, AB (May 27) - Sherwood Park's Curtis Moore knows there will be other NPP Series race teams closely watching his performance this Saturday night at Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge.  Moore finished second at the May 18th Feature event at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park in Okotoks after what many drivers would call a disastrous start to a season.  "It would have been nice to run both Saturday and Sunday night," indicates Moore, "we have had the least amount of track time out of all the drivers so far this year."  Moore was forced to sit out the entire race night Saturday due mechanical problems. "We wrecked two starters Saturday.”  Things didn’t go any better on Sunday.  “During hot laps, we broke a driveshaft which in turn took out a brake line." 

Moore’s first official race of the 2008 season was Sunday nights 'B' Dash.  “All we wanted to do was to just get laps on the car, keep it together and get it back to the shop in one piece.”  A podium finish was the furthest thing from Moore’s mind.  “I wasn’t thinking top 5 at all,” indicates Moore, “we started the feature near the back of the pack and worked our way up to 12th then all of a sudden were in the top 10.  We held our ground, and thanks to some spins, we made it up to second.  It was a great way to wrap up was an incredibly frustrating weekend."   Moore enters Saturday night’s race in Lethbridge just 16 points out of the top 10.










EDMONTON, AB (May 28th) – The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series touches down this Saturday night at Bridge County Raceway near Lethbridge.  One driver looking forward to the Southern Alberta trip is Kevin Wheeler.  “We won here last year,” says the Whitecourt, Alberta driver, “it was a huge win for us and we hope to be in victory lane again Saturday night.”  Wheeler is coming off a disappointing season opening weekend in Okotoks.  “Part of racing is luck and it definitely wasn’t on our side.  We were involved in a few incidents which basically knocked us out of contention.”

Wheeler looking forward to Lethbridge race.

Wheeler currently sits 13th in the standings just 39 points back of a top ten spot.  Current NPP Series point leader Paul Grundberg is coming off one of his strongest showings ever behind the wheel of a race car.  “We had a pretty good weekend in Okotoks,” indicates last year’s rookie of the year, “we spent a lot of time on the car over the winter.   Its nice to see the hard work is already paying off.”  Grundberg had a second place and a win in Feature events at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park. 

Grundberg is current NPP Series point leader

“Hopefully we’ll be as good in Lethbridge.  It’s a big fast track, so we hope the car handles as good as it did in Okotoks.”  Last year, in the three Feature events run at Bridge County Raceway, Grundberg finished 10th and had two 5th place finishes.  Chasing Grundberg in the standings is two time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy.  The Edson Alberta driver, who currently sits second, has history on his side heading into race action Saturday night.  Kennedy has won half of the NPP Features (2 of 4) that have been competed in Lethbridge.  “We won the inaugural race back in 2006 and we won the first night of a two day show last September.” 

Kennedy sits second in NPP Series points chase.

Kennedys other two Feature appearances were both dramatic and spectacular.  “We were leading the Feature last July when the transmission blew.  The second night of the September long weekend race we crashed hard into Curtis Moore doing about 100mph.”            

BRIDGE COUNTY RACEWAY - Saturday, May 31st
Lethbridge, Alberta


LETHBRIDGE, AB (May 31) – The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series once again has a familiar name atop the point standings. Jason Beaulieu, in the All Weather Windows #46 Dodge, jumped from third to first in the point’s chase with his dominating performance at Bridge County Raceway Saturday night (May 31st). After a third place finish in his heat race and a second in the ‘A’ dash, the Campbell River BC driver out-dueled pole sitter Curtis Moore for the lead on the first lap and drove on to an impressive victory. At one point in the Feature, Beaulieu had more than a half track lead over the rest of the field. A late race yellow did tighten up the field and made the run to the checkered flag a lot closer.  “The car was on rails tonight,” says the defending NPP season champion, “we did pretty well in the heat and the dash. Starting on the front row (tonight) helped out too. The track was getting a little bit dry slick at the end but we kept the car straight.” 

Beaulieu moves to first place in the standings with Lethbridge victory.

For the second Feature in a row, Curtis Moore was runner up. After missing the first race of the season due to mechanical problems, the Sherwood Park Alberta driver has managed to storm his way back from last place in the standings to fourth in his Air Power Systems #80 Dodge.  “It was a solid main event tonight. Our season started off on a sour note (in Okotoks) but were getting things going now and really looking forward to getting back to our home track.” Moore held his ground at the end of the Feature with several late charges from Campbell River BC’s Chris Beaulieu who ended up fourth and Spruce Grove, Alberta’s Bruce Broughton who finished third. “Made all the work we put into this car worthwhile,” says Broughton, “after that crash in Okotoks we really needed this strong finish.” Broughton and his crew worked a total of 90 hours on the car to repair the damage from the Okotoks mishap, “it’s definitely a lot more fun when you finish up front.” It’s Broughton’s second podium finish in the last four NPP race events dating back to last season. Broughton was runner-up at the season championship race in Edmonton last September. Adding to his third place in the Feature Saturday night, Broughton kicked off the night with a heat race win. “I’m surprised the car even finished (the heat),” disclosed Broughton, “I could smell fuel. It turned out we had a hole in the fuel pump. I’m surprised it didn’t catch fire.” Coming off his first ever Feature event win in Okotoks May 17th, Paul Grundberg was not happy with his performance in Lethbridge Saturday night. “We were chasing the set up the first half of the night but we had a strong race car for the Feature.” Grundberg who finished last in his heat and second in the ‘B’ Dash avoided a two car spin five laps early in the Feature. The Whitecourt, Alberta driver took evasive action and drove his #12 Pontiac onto the infield. “We bent something up front,” sigh’s Grundberg, “the car wouldn’t steer after that. I couldn’t counter steer. I just stayed on the track and tried to keep out of everyone’s way.” Grundberg’s 16th place finish in the feature knocked him from first to third in the NPP Series point standings. “We’ll just have to head to Edmonton and work a little bit harder at getting past Dwight and Jason again.” 

>Edson Alberta’s Dwight Kennedy started the Feature in the 12th position and battled to a 5th place finish.
>Like father, like son. Jason Beaulieu’s son Chris finished the Lethbridge feature in fourth. It was only the second time Chris Beaulieu was behind the wheel of an NPP Late Model.