NPP AT CASTROL RACEWAY TNT
EDMONTON, AB (May 2nd) – The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicked off its 2009 race season with a weekend test 'n' tune session at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway.  “Nice to hear the sounds of race cars again,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “we didn’t have a test 'n' tune last year.  They have been a bit of a rare occurrence at our home track the past few seasons due to inclement weather.”  Weather was not a problem Saturday afternoon.  Under a clear blue Alberta sky, temperatures were in the high teens when the green flag dropped.  “We needed to be here today (test 'n' tune),” says Sherwood Park Alberta’s Curtis Moore, “I don’t want a repeat of what happened last year.”  Moore had motor problems with his Air Power Systems #80 Dodge at the 2008 Season opener and then broke a drive shaft the second night.  “I’m very happy with how my car performed.  Unfortunately we were only on the track twice today.  I was hoping maybe we could have gotten on the track at least one more time.” 


Moore heads for the pits after on track session (note new competitor grandstands)

Another driver hoping to get on the track one more time was three time NPP Series Champion Trevor Emond.  “The track was in a lot better shape than I though it would be,” says the driver of the #17 Hitchworks Chevrolet, “we had to pull off early our second time out because of some timing problems.  We were hoping to get back on the track to see if we fixed it.”  Emond was fastest in the first NPP test session.  NPP Series veteran Mike Tom meanwhile was fastest in the second round. 


Trevor Emond (#17) and Mike Tom (#55) were fastest in Edmonton Saturday

“It was good get back on the track again,” says the Stony Plain Alberta driver, “this is going to be an interesting season that’s for sure.”  Tom drove his Hinton Oilfield Services #55 Chevrolet to a third place finish in NPP Series points in 2008.  Pat Fines brought his Haze Tattoos sponsored #8 Dodge down from Whitecourt Alberta for Saturday afternoon’s test 'n' tune in Edmonton.  “I had to knock a little rust off,” smiles Fines, “extra seat time is always good in this class.” 


Fines aims higher in 2009

This is Fines third season in an NPP Late Model. "Consistency will be the key for me this season," says Fines, "last season we were all over the place as far as where we finished. One week we finished 8th then the next race 16th.. If we can get it (consistency) then a top 10 in points is possible this season." Fines had four top 10 finishes in NPP Feature races last season. Noticeably absent from Saturdays test ‘n’ tune session was the defending season champion Brian McCaughan and two time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy.  “McCaughan was test ‘n’ tuning today (Saturday) at his home track down in Okotoks,” says Craig, “Kennedy had work commitments with Northern Provincial Pipelines in Edson.”  For the third year in a row the NPP Late Model Series kicks off its race season in southern Alberta. The 9th exciting season of NPP race action begins with back to back nights at Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge on the May long weekend.

LUCAS OIL SLICK MIST SEASON OPENER
Bridge County Raceway – Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, May 16th / Sunday, May 17th
Racing both nights at 7:00PM

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ATTENTION: SEASON OPENING TICKET HOLDERS
Both the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series and Castrol Raceway handed out complimentary tickets to the 2009 Season opener originally scheduled for Saturday, May 2nd.  These tickets will be honored at this Friday, May 8th re-scheduled Season Opening event at Castrol Raceway.  The NPP Late Model Series is not scheduled to race this night however several NPP Late Model teams will be at the track.


Can be used for May 8th race at Castrol Raceway

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COUNTDOWN TO GREEN
EDMONTON, AB (May 9 - 14)
– The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicks off its 9th incredible season of race action in Lethbridge, Alberta this May long weekend (Saturday, Sunday May 16 & 17). The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 2009 Season Opener at Bridge County Raceway marks the third year in a row that the first event of a NPP Championship season takes place in southern Alberta. With the current economic decline in Canada, several NPP Series race teams have had to scale back their racing operations for the upcoming season. Others will be racing even harder for the coveted NPP Series Championship. Leading up to the season opener, the official website of the NPP Late Model Series will be previewing the starting 'lineup' for the 2009 race season.

#99 WAYNE GIDEON – EDSON, AB
Edson, Alberta’s Wayne Gideon hung up his helmet last season after running the NPP Late Model Series the past six seasons.  Gideon’s only NPP Feature win was a memorable one.  He won the 50 lap feature which awarded him 2006 Oilmen’s Invitational Championship. 


Gideon won the 2006 Oilmens Invitational race in 2006.

Gideon registered 8 top 10 Finishes in feature race action last season in his Gideon Contracting sponsored #99.   

#88 CRYSTAL KENNEDY – EDSON, AB
The youngest driver of the NPP Late Model Series has a brand new paint scheme on her Edson Top Choice Autobody sponsored #88 Dodge.  “Kinda reminds me of a watermelon,” smiles 19 year old Crystal Kennedy, “it’s a fun paint scheme for me this year.”  The Edson, Alberta driver and daughter of 2-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy, hopes to be able to pilot her race car around the track with a little more ease this year. 


Kennedy flying new colors in 2009

Kennedy took the Jimmy Sills driving school in California during the off season and is looking forward to applying what she learned.  “The course was amazing.  Learning about car set up and weight transfer to reading a race track.  It’s been driving me crazy waiting to get on the race track again.”  Kennedy had 6 top 10 finished in Feature appearances last season.   

#81 DWIGHT KENNEDY – EDSON, AB
The two-time NPP Series Champion (2001 / 2006) will have
his game face this season.  The Edson Alberta driver had the NPP Series points lead three times during the 2008 season only to loose it to Brian McCaughan at the final race of the season.  Kennedy has now finished second in NPP points for two consecutive seasons in his Lucas Oil #81 Dodge. 


Kennedy ready for NPP Championship chase

“We were strong in the Features all season (3 wins / 4 seconds/ 1 third) but we lost out on a lot of points in the Heats and the Dash races.”  Kennedy, who had been averaging at least 6 heat race wins a season, registered just 1 heat race victory in 2008.  “We had a good season last year but we really gave it away (points lead) on the final night.”         

#80 CURTIS MOORE – SHERWOOD PARK, AB
Watch for Curtis Moore and his Air Power Systems #80 Dodge to battle hard at the season opening weekend in Lethbridge, Alberta.  “Just getting on the race track will be a good thing,” smiles the Sherwood Park, Alberta driver, “we didn’t have a test ‘n’ tune last year and that really hurt us at the season opening weekend (Saturday/Sunday) in Okotoks.”  Moore had engine problems on night number one and drive shaft problems on night number two.  “We were pretty well dead last in points to begin the season.  I do not want that to happen again this year.” 

Moore was third fastest at Castrol Raceways test ‘n’ tune earlier this month.  “Car felt pretty good lets get the season going.”  Moore had 3 heat race wins in 2008 and had 9 top 10 finishes in Feature race action.   Moore also placed second in back to back Features last year in Okotoks and Lethbridge.

#78 KEN CLARK – EDSON, AB
At the end of March, veteran racer Ken Clark was still unsure about weather or not to go racing in 2009.  “You see it and hear it in the news everyday regarding the state of the economy,” says Clark, “cutbacks and layoffs.  It gets you wondering.”  At this point in time, Clark plans on running the entire 2009 NPP season.  “I will re-evaluate things after the Oilmen’s in August.  I need a strong season this year and to keep my car out of the shop.” 


Clark had six top 10 finishes in 2008

Clark was as high as 3rd in the NPP Series points chase last season but ended the 2008 season 15th in points after a few on track incidents plus two blown motors.     

#61 BRUCE BROUGHTON – SPRUCE GROVE, AB
This will be Bruce Broughton’s fifth consecutive season in the NPP Late Model Series.  The Spruce Grove Alberta driver led all Series teams last season with 9 Heat race victories.  Broughton was also the first NPP driver to win a heat race on American soil.  He also won his fourth Feature event since grabbing the NPP Rookie of the Year honors back in 2005. 


Broughton aiming for a top 10 in points this season

The driver of the MDM Foundation/Fraser Brothers Roofing sponsored #61 Chevrolet ran as high as 7th in the 2008 NPP Series Points chase and finished the season in 12th.  

#55 MIKE TOM – STONY PLAIN, AB
Despite missing valuable season points from two Feature events due to motor problems, Mike Tom still managed to finish 3rd in the NPP Series points chase last season. At one point, the Stony Plain Alberta driver sat 16th in standings (end of June) but fought his way back into the top 5 by the end of July.


Tom 'averaged' a 5th place finish in the final 8 Features of 2008

His surge in the standings was courtesy of one Feature win and three consecutive Features where he finished fourth or better. Tom had a total of ten top 5 finishes in Feature events last season in his Hinton Oilfield Services/Enerbuilt Technologies #55 Chevrolet.

#46 JASON BEAULIEU – CAMPBELL RIVER, BC
Veteran racer Jason Beaulieu celebrates his 25th year in racing this season.  “This is one of the best racing series I have ever competed in,” says Beaulieu, “I have run many different racing divisions over the years a the competition here is really second to none. You work very hard for a win in the NPP class.  They don’t come easy that’s for sure.” 


Beaulieu led all NPP drivers last season with 4 Feature wins

Beaulieu, the 2007 NPP Series Champion won four NPP Feature events last season in his All Weather Windows #46 Dodge.  “We missed a few races last season and that definitely hurt us as far as the points.”  The Campbell River, BC driver finished the season fourth in points.    

#42 BRIAN MCCAUGHAN – OKOTOKS, AB
The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series 2008 season champion is back to defend his title.  The Okotoks, Alberta driver is also ‘back in black’ as his #42 A-Men Contracting Services Chevrolet is sporting a brand new paint scheme for 2009.  “I had a blast last year in this class,” says McCaughan, “I learned lots too considering it was my first year.”


New paint scheme expected in 2009 (2008 paint shown)

McCaughan plans on running a majority of the 2009 NPP race season However when scheduling issues arise (running Rocky Mountain Raceway Park) pavement veteran Mike Browne (Black Diamond, Alberta) will be filling in for several events.

#35 DARIN BORYSKO – EDSON, AB
Spending the last two seasons as a ‘guest/relief driver’, Edson, Alberta’s Darin Borysko will be a NPP Series regular in 2009. Borysko has registered numerous top 10 finishes in Feature events and has 3 heat race wins in the limited time he has spent behind the wheel of an NPP Late Model.     
     

#17 TREVOR EMOND – LEDUC, AB
A familiar name returns to the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series in 2009.  The 2003, 04 and 05 NPP Series Champion (plus 2nd - 2006) is back full time this season after taking two years off to race on the pavement. 


Emond leads all active NPP Series drivers with 29 Feature wins

Trevor Emond is coming off a successful pavement season winning the 2008 ARCA West Late Model championship.  Emond was a special ‘guest’ driver at two NPP Series events last season at Rocky Mountain Raceway Park in Okotoks.  Filling in for Kevin Clark, Emond won both feature races in Southern Alberta.  Even though Emond was not a NPP Series 'regular', the Leduc Alberta driver was one of only two competitors to win back to back NPP Features last season. (07 NPP Champion Jason Beaulieu was the other driver)  Along with his season on the dirt, Emond intends to run several pavement events in 2009 as well.         

#16 ASHLEY BROUGHTON – ST. ALBERT, AB
After competing in the NPP Late Model Series the past three seasons, Ashley Broughton and her uncle Brent Broughton are temporarily parking the #16 MDM Foundations Chevrolet for the season.  “It was a tough decision,” says Broughton, “we are still going to be at the track this season helping Bruce and anyone else who needs a hand.”  Bruce Broughton is Ashley’s father and brother to Brent. 

#14 DARRELL MIDGLEY – SIDNEY, BC
Darrell Midgley has been part of the NPP Late Model Series since its very first season back in 2001.  The veteran pavement racer from Sidney, BC has three top five finishes in the NPP Championship points chase the past five seasons.  Unfortunately Midgley had to miss several races last season due to his track promoter commitments at Western Speedway near Victoria. 


Midgley finished 7th in NPP Championship points last season.

The driver of the #14 Lucas Oil Dodge finished had five top 10 finishes and placed second a total of three times in NPP Feature action last season.  

#12 PAUL GRUNDBERG – WHITECOURT, AB
The only driver in Series history to win a NPP Feature event in Canada and the United States is eagerly awaiting the start of the 2009 racing season.  “It’s definitely been a long off-season for us,” says the driver of the Carlan Services #12 Pontiac, “we had a pretty good run last year and definitely want to carry that over to this year.”  Grundberg had two wins and twelve top 10 finishes last season.  Ironically Grundberg did not score a heat race victory in 2008.  “We came close a few times (heat win),” says Grundberg, “looking back now, we sure could have used the extra points.” 


Grundberg geared up for 2009 season

Grundberg finished the 2008 season in 6th position just one point out of 5th and 66 points back of 4th place.  “We had three terrible races last season which hurt us in the standings.”  Grundberg briefly led the NPP Series Championship points chase (end of May) and sat in the top three in points for the first two months of the 2008 season. 

#10 TRAVIS DAY – WHITECOURT, AB
“We are planning on running maybe about half the race season right now,” says Day, “if you would have asked me back in February, I probably would have told you the car was going to be parked for the entire season.” Day’s main focus right now is running Trapper's Auto in Whitecourt. “Committing to running a full season is a little difficult right now. We have to concentrate on the business side of things rather than racing but I am seeing some positive signs regarding the economy.” The Whitecourt, Alberta driver had a bit of a surprise at the end of last season which didn't help matters.  “We knew we twisted up our frame (crash in Washington) but when the motor gave us troubles the last race in Edmonton we knew the off season wasn't going to be a lot of fun.”  


Day to race most nights in Edmonton this season

The Trappers Auto/RL5 Enterprises #10 Chevrolet is currently back together and straight but the car is still minus a motor.  “We won’t make the season opener in Lethbridge but if all goes well (motor) we’ll be at the first Edmonton race.”  Day ran as high as 9th in the points chase last season. In his first full season as a NPP Series competitor, Day finished the 2008 season 11th in the standings.

#8 PAT FINES – WHITECOURT, AB
Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series driver Pat Fines has quite the appetite for toys that go fast.  During the snowy months of winter and on warmer spring days, Fines often found himself snowmobiling in the mountains.  “Just got back from a spring snowmobiling trip a few weeks ago,” says Fines, “you have to keep yourself entertained somehow when you’re not racing.” 


Fines finds the need for speed in the winter and summer

Fines thrill for speed will be changing focus when he gets behind the wheel of his #8 Orion Environmental Services sponsored Dodge this season.  “This is a blast,” adds Fines, “it’s a great group of guys to go racing with on weekends. We're going for a top 10 in points this season. But we need to be consistent.”  On weekends that Fines is not behind the wheel of his racecar, you’ll find him cruising down the open road on his custom Harley Davidson motorcycle. 

# 7 SHAWN KENNEDY – EDSON, AB
The 2008 season was not too kind to Shawn Kennedy. “We've certainly had better years,” says the Edson, Alberta driver, “it was a month into the season before we even cracked the top 10 in a Feature race.” Kennedy started off the month of June with a third place finish in Edmonton then an eighth place finish a week later (also in Edmonton). 


Kennedy wants less of this in 2009

But hard crashes in Rimbey, Lethbridge and Edmonton hampered efforts for a top 10 finish in the standings.  “Very frustrating that’s for sure,” adds Kennedy, “we need to put last year behind us. The only way to do that is a strong start to the this season and try to carry the momentum to the the last race of the year.”  Kennedy finished 14th in the point standings in 2008.

# 5 KEVIN CLARK – ALTARIO, AB
The 2006 Series Rookie of the Year is back for his 4th consecutive NPP race season.  Kevin Clark finished 5th in points in 2008.  Clark was one of nine drivers to win a NPP Feature event in an extremely competitive season.  “We had a couple tough crashes last year that cost us some points.  We probably could have finished fourth or third.”  Clark, the owner of Clark Construction is also lending a hand in the finishing touches at Alberta’s newest Oval track.   Dinosaur Downs Raceway in Drumheller will host the NPP Late Model Series twice in 2009.


Clark is ready for the 2009 Championship Chase

# 4 CORRY MACDOUGALL – WHITECOURT, AB
Corry MacDougall’s first season in an NPP Late Model Series race car was most likely his last.  MacDougall’s name was on the # 4 Dodge but he was behind the wheel only a few times last season to due work commitments at C-MAC in Whitecourt.       

#3 KEVIN WHEELER – WHITECOURT, AB
Kevin Wheeler’s only Feature win in 2008 took place during the NPP Late Model Series inaugural trip to the United States.  With an 8th place finish in the standings last season, Wheeler was looking forward to the start of the 2009 season.  Unfortunately the current economic downturn is affecting Wheelers racing ambitions for the upcoming season.  “Things have dramatically changed in the last few months for us,” says the disappointed Whitecourt, Alberta driver, “KW Mechanical is still busy, but I don’t have the luxury right now of disappearing on weekend to go racing.”  Wheeler still hopes to compete in a few race events in 2009.  “At this point in time I can’t even give you a guess as to the number of events we will run.  Heck we may not even be able to run at all.”


Wheeler might be watching instead of racing this season.

# 2 ARVID FONSTAD – ENTWISTLE, AB
Arvid Fonstad was noticeably absent for much of the 2008 NPP Late Model season.  A combination of blown motors and work commitments with ChemServ Products had Fonstad sitting on the sidelines.  Fonstad competed in only 6 NPP Series races and finished 21st in points.  Fonstad however was one of the most consistent drivers when the NPP Late Model Series made its American debut at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington.  The Entwistle, Alberta competitor had heat race wins and a top 10 finish in the Feature both nights (4th and 6th place).  Fonstad plans on running as many NPP Series events as possible in 2009.  Fonstad also will be running his IMCA Modified as well as his open wheel Midget Sprint Car this season.


Fontad looks to turn it up a notch in 2009


#01 TEAM STEWART – SEBA BEACH, AB
The husband and wife team of Dan and Kelly Stewart are back again in 2009 looking to build on a pretty successful season they had last year.  Team Stewarts best showing in 2008 was a second place finish at Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey.  The Dukes of Hazzard themed #01 Dodge was never out of the top 10 in the NPP Series points chase last season. At one point the Stewart’s were as high as fourth in the point standings but finished the season in the 10th position.


2009 SNEAK PEEK: Team Stewarts race car.......decals are next.

00 BLAIR SNOW – CALGARY, AB
Blair Snow will be taking over driving duties from Dan Snow in 2009.  Spending much of last season crewing for his father, the Calgarian jumped into the driver seat a couple of times and decided it was time to get behind the wheel to race full time once again.  Like his father, much of Blair’s racing history was spent competing on pavement at Race City Speedway in Calgary.  There was some off-season discussion of a two car team in 2009 but with the economic downturn, the Snow’s decided to stick with just one race car for now. Blair Snow will be racing for Rookie of the Year honors in 2009.


Will it SNOW in victory lane this season?

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NPP CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS FORMAT ADJUSTED
EDMONTON, AB (February 12)After major revisions were made to the NPP Late Model Series race format last season, many NPP teams and race fans wondered out loud if the Championship point’s format would undergo some changes as well.  Effective immediately, the NASCAR point system will be used at all Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series Feature race events.  “We were thinking about tweaking the current point system which has been in use the past eight seasons,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “but looking closer at NASCAR’s point format it was decided to go this route instead.”  Only the basic NASCAR point system will be used.  “Like the old NPP point structure and NASCAR’s current point format, there is still a 10 point spread between winning a race and second place.  The major differences as far as awarding points are from third place on back.”  Adopting the NASCAR point structure is expected to result in an even tighter points chase in 2009.  The old NPP format saw a gap of 65 points between a Feature winner and 10th place.  The NASCAR format, which will now be used at all future NPP Feature events, sees that gap (1st vs.10th) narrowed to just 46 points.  Under the NASCAR format, a NPP Feature winner will now receive 180 points instead of 100.  “This point format needs no interpreter or a long winded explanation of how it works.  It’s a very simple way of awarding points.”             

NASCAR / NPP Point Format for Features
(previous NPP Feature point format)
1st -180 (100)
2nd -170 (90)
3rd - 165 (80)
4th - 160 (70)
5th - 155 (60)
6th - 150 (55)
7th - 146 (50)
8th - 142 (45)
9th - 138 (40)
10th - 134 (35)
11th - 130 (32)
12th - 127 (29)
13th - 124 (26)
14th - 121 (23)
15th - 118 (20)
16th - 115 (17)
17th - 112 (14)
18th - 109 (11)
19th - 106 (8)
20th - 103 (5)
21st - 100 (5)
22nd - 97 (5)
23rd - 94 (5)
24th - 91 (5)

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THE NPP CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE BEGINS
EDMONTON, AB (May 14)
– The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series begins its 9th consecutive year of racing action this weekend.  “It's go time,” says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “drivers and race teams have been extremely anxious to get the season started.”  For the very first time, Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge, Alberta is hosting the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NPP Season Opener for the stars of the NPP Late Model Series. “We’ve got two incredible nights of racing (Saturday and Sunday) in Lethbridge,” adds Craig, “it’s a wide fast race track.  Drivers are definitely going to take advantage of it this weekend.”  Defending season champion Brian McCaughan knows a target is on his back for 2009.  “It’s expected,” says the Okotoks, Alberta driver, “but we are ready to defend the title.” 


McCaughan debuts his brand new 'all black' paint scheme this weekend

McCaughan clinched the 2008 NPP Championship on the final night of the season in Edmonton.  “We had an amazing season.  We had many things go our way and had very few off nights.  I hope this season will be the same.”  Last season McCaughan had two Feature wins and finished in the top 10 a total of sixteen times.  Two of his top 10 finishes came in Lethbridge (6th - May 31 / 5th - July19).  “I would love to start off this season with a win.”  2007 NPP Series Champion Jason Beaulieu has won three Features at Bridge County Raceway.  The Campbell River BC driver won both Lethbridge Features last season. 


Beaulieu has won three of the last 5 NPP Features in Lethbridge

"It’s a tough track to win at.  Starting position is very important, so you have to do well in the Heats and the Dash races.”  Two-time NPP Series Champion (2001 / 2006) Dwight Kennedy has two Feature wins at Bridge County Raceway.  “We’ve always run strong here in Lethbridge,” says the driver of the #81 Lucas Oil Dodge, “we might have had three wins but we lost a transmission while leading a race two years ago.” 


Kennedy won the first Feature event of the 2008 season

The Edson Alberta driver, who finished second in the 2008 NPP points chase had two top 10 finishes at Bridge County Raceway (5th / 8th) last season.   

BRIDGE COUNTY RACEWAY – Lethbridge, Alberta
>SATURDAY, MAY 16th
>SUNDAY, MAY 17th

GATES & 5:00PM / RACING & 7:00PM (both nights)

Race teams from the NPP Late Model Series and the IMCA Modified Series battle for valuable 2009 Season points Saturday and Sunday night.

Bridge County Raceway Admission
Adults - $15.00
Student/Senior - $12.00
Children (age 6 – 12) $12.00
5 and under - Free

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MIDGLEY ENDS FEATURE WIN DROUGHT
LETHBRIDGE, AB (May 16) - The 2009 NPP Late Model Series kicked off its 9th incredible season at Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday night with Darrell Midgley ending a lengthy winless streak. There was no question that the NPP Series veteran would visit victory lane again but even Midgley was beginning to wonder out loud when the ongoing dry spell would end. "Getting a win in this series is extremely tough," says Midgley, who's last NPP Feature win came on July 14th, 2006. "its sure been a while since I've been able to hold that checkered flag." After his 2006 victory, the Sidney BC driver would come close in the many Features run. In 26 races, Midgley scored 17 top 10 finishes which included five runner-ups and four third place finishes. "This was a well earned win thats for sure, considering what happened to us early in the race tonight (Saturday)." Midgley started on the outside of the front row but drove his #14 Lucas Oil Dodge out of the racing groove and dropped back nine spots to 11th before the first lap was even completed. "It was a frustating feeling seeing all the cars go by me but what can you do." Only four yellow flags flew in the 30 lap Feature. Midgley fought his way back to the front and with under 5 laps to go took over the lead from pole sitter Kevin Clark. "Its a good start to the season," says Midgley, "hope to keep this going for awhile." Kevin Clark held on to the lead for more than half the race but had the handling go away toward the end of the Feature. Clark would finish third in his Clark Construction #5 Dodge while Rod Wilde, filling in for NPP Series regular Paul Grundberg would finish second in the Carlan Services #12 Pontiac. Dry track conditions may have cost two time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy a podium finish. Kennedy ran in the top 3 for most of Saturday nights Feature. The Edson Alberta driver made a brief charge for the lead with just a few laps remaining only to fall back seven spots to 8th. "Couldn't see through the dust," says Kennedy, "there was some driver error on my part to but what are you going to do." Kennedy however was still pleased with his performance despite the late race stumble. Three time NPP Series Champion Trevor Emond was running 7th when he had a right rear tire go down just past the halfway point of the race. The Leduc Alberta driver would spend the last half of the Feature working his way from the back to the front and ended up 5th behind Campbell River BC's Jason Beaulieu. Rounding out the top 10. Mike Tom, Ken Clark, Chris Beaulieu and Crystal Kennedy.

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LIKE SON, LIKE FATHER
LETHBRIDGE, AB (May 18) - Before the May long weekend, racefans in Southern Alberta may not have even heard of Campbell River, British Columbia.  They are aware of its existence now and may even be able to find it on a map after an amazing performance by the father and son team of Jason and Chris Beaulieu.  The Vancouver Island duo took home the checkered flag in both classes that competed at Lethbridge, Alberta’s Bridge County Raceway Sunday night. Chris Beaulieu, in only his second race on dirt in an IMCA Modified, dominated the 25 lap Feature event and drove to victory lane for the first time.  The 21 year old son of NPP Series competitor Jason Beaulieu then promptly jumped into an NPP Late Model as a relief driver (Team Stewart #01 Dodge) and finished 4th in a 30 lap Feature event. 



Chris Beaulieu wins his first ever Feature in an IMCA Dirt Modified in Lethbridge Sunday, then holds off Crystal Kennedy (#88) for 4th in the NPP Late Model Feature.

Not to be out done, Jason Beaulieu followed in his sons ‘smaller’ footsteps and promptly went out and won his first NPP Late Model Feature of the season.  “What a night for me and the kid,” exclaims the 2007 NPP Series champion, “he ran great in his Modified and almost had a podium finish in a NPP car. My wife Tammy and I are pretty proud parents tonight (Sunday).”  Jason Beaulieu’s NPP Series victory, on the second night of the Lucas Oil/Slick Mist Season opening weekend, put the 25 year racing veteran into the number one spot in the NPP point standings.  “No matter what class you drive be it a modified of a stock car, you have to be patient here (Lethbridge),” says Beaulieu, “if you overdrive this track, you are in for a long frustrating night.”  Ironically it was Beaulieu who may have been the impatient one Saturday night when he destroyed his IMCA Modified in a spectacular front straight crash.  “Driver error plain and simple,” sigh’s Beaulieu, “this was the first race car I have written off in 15 years.”   Still on Saturday night, Beaulieu spun twice during race action in his #46 Lucas Oil Dodge and but managed to escape the night with fourth a fourth place finish in the Feature.


Beaulieu cruises to victory in Lethbridge Sunday night and takes over point lead.

Sunday night saw Beaulieu living up to his words of driving patiently and waiting for an opportunity.  Beaulieu ran second for 18 consecutive laps trailing pole sitter Kevin Clark who had lead all the laps in the NPP Feature up to this point.  Beaulieu would inherit the lead with 10 laps to go after Clark, who finished third Saturday night, brushed the front straight wall and would be forced to retire from the race. Clark, who led the most laps Sunday night, was credited with an 11th place finish and moved down from 2nd to 4th in the NPP Series points chase. Beaulieu meanwhile will defend his newly found point lead at the next NPP Late Model Series event at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway June 5th. 

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NPP SERIES AT PLAY DURING OFF WEEKEND
DEVON, AB (May 24)The sleepy town of Devon, Alberta southwest of Edmonton, came alive over the weekend as residents held their annual Devon Days festivities.  Thousands of people took in the three day event.  Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series announcer Gord Craig was the guest MC at the 5th annual Burnout and Show ‘n’ Shine at the River of Hope Church on Friday night (May 22). 


Classic Dodge's, Chevy's and Fords on display in Devon, Alberta

“This really is an amazing show,” says Craig, “the vehicles on display spanned 8 decades.  There were cars and trucks from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Current models were on display as well.”  One of those current models was the NPP Late Model Series Dodge Charger Pace Car. Organizers of this year’s event say a record was set for the number of show ‘n’ shine entrants (72) plus burnout contestants (51).

NPP Series sponsor Lucas Oil provided some Slick Mist as door prizes for the competition.  Heads were turning too when the same Ford Mustang that was featured in the Lucas Oil North American advertising campaign, showed up for the event. 


Ford Mustang used in the North America Lucas Oil advertising campaign

“This car was recently bought off Ebay,” adds Craig, “it is the same car featured in the Lucas advertisement in the NPP Series souvenir program.  Needless to say the owner was quite pleased when I gave him a few of our souvenir programs with a picture of the car.”  More than 1,000 spectators took in the show ‘n’ shine and burnout contest Friday night.  Less than 24 hours later the Devon Days parade took place. 

The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series Official pace car was part of the parade.  Devon Days officials estimate a crowd of 6,000 people lined the streets of downtown Devon to watch the hour long parade.   

Next race action for the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is Friday and Saturday June 5th and 6th. Back to back race nights at two tracks. Friday night (5th) the Slick Mist home track season opener at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway. Saturday afternoon (6th), racing action is at Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey.

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RED AND YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE
EDMONTON, AB (May 30th) – The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has hired its own touring flagman for the 2009 racing season.  Veteran flagman Les Farrar made his NPP Series debut at Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge at the Lucas Slick Mist Season Opener.  “Seeing other facilities and meeting the crew and race fans from around the province is a definite bonus,” says Farrar, “but when the green flag drops its all racing regardless of where it is.” 


Flagman Les Farrar with Trevor Emond and Edmonton track
announcer Gord Craig from 2003

Farrar’s no nonsense approach to flagging was quite evident at the season opener in Lethbridge with several NPP drivers feeling the sting of a black flag.  “The rules were laid out in the pit meeting.  Yes its dirt track racing, yes there will be contact from time to time.  I'm here to enforce the rules and cut down on the unnecessary contact and rough driving on the track and make the race as safe and as fair as I possibly can.  I don’t look at car numbers I only see the car and what’s happening on the track.  I’d black flag my own mother if she broke the rules!” Farrar realizes that the first few races of the season are going to be tough on many NPP Series drivers.  “I’ve got a pretty thick skin.  Working in the education system for 32 years and spending 6 years teaching at a school for juvenile delinquents, I’ve heard it all and seen it all. Firm but fair officiating is what you will be getting from me this year."

After a two weekend break, the stars of the NPP Late Model Series have a double header weekend of racing action scheduled. Friday night June 5th, drivers compete for valuable season points at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway. On Saturday June 6th teams head to Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey for a scheduled afternoon points race.

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