SCHEDULE SHUFFLE
EDMONTON, AB (May 6) - Central Alberta Raceways, already the host track for the 2014 Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series championship weekend in September, will now host the 2014 season opener in just a few weeks time.  "The original plan was to hold our season opener in Edmonton on May 10th," explains NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "that won't be happening now.  This date will now be used for teams that would like to test 'n' tune their race cars.  Our season opener will now take place on May 31st." 


2014 SEASON OPENER WILL NOW BE COMPETED AT CENTRAL ALBERTA RACEWAYS
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (photo: STP RACING MEMORIES)

The Rimbey, Alberta facility, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary season in 2014, last hosted a NPP Late Model Series season opening race back in 2006.  The finger of blame for the season opening 'adjustment' is pointed directly at the weather.  Due to wet facility conditions, the Edmonton test 'n' tune, originally scheduled for April 26th, was cancelled by track officials.  "Several of our teams still wanted a test 'n' tune session before the race season began," explains Craig, "there were some teams however that said we don't need any testing, let's just go racing." This is not the first time that the original season opening date has been shuffled around courtesy the weather.  "Since 2001 we have had only five season opening races completed as scheduled.  Just five!!"  Craig says official records of the NPP Late Model Series paint a grim picture when it comes to season openers.  "Weather conditions cancelled six consecutive season openers (2006 - 2011).  For a majority of those seasons the test 'n' tune date was not affected by the weather."  At this point, it is not known how many NPP Series teams will take advantage of the track time at Castrol Raceway on May 10th.  "The test 'n' tune is being made available for those teams that wanted it."  For many it will be a last minute decision whether or not to make the trip to Edmonton for an opportunity to shake off the winter cobwebs.         

2014 NPP LATE MODEL SERIES SCHEDULE
Saturday, April 26th   Edmonton, Alberta (test 'n' tune)
Saturday, May 10th    Edmonton, Alberta (test 'n' tune  - take 2)
Saturday, May 31st    Rimbey, Alberta
Saturday, June 7th      Edmonton, Alberta
Saturday, June 28th    Sangudo, Alberta
Sunday, June 29th      Sangudo, Alberta
Friday, July 18th        Edmonton, Alberta (Gold Cup)
Saturday, July 19th     Edmonton, Alberta (Gold Cup)
Wednesday, July 30th  Edmonton, Alberta (Race of Champions)
Saturday, Sept. 20th   Rimbey, Alberta
Sunday, Sept. 21st      Rimbey, Alberta

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TESTING, TESTING
EDMONTON, AB (May 11) - There could be new names heading to victory lane in 2014 if performances from Saturday nights test 'n' tune session carry over to the race season.  Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series race teams were back at Castrol Raceway for the first time since last August. Crystal Kennedy, Mark Miller and Dean Deatherage posted the fastest laps times in three separate on-track test sessions.  "The car felt real good," exclaims Deatherage, "it got quicker by the end of the night."  The Whitecourt, Alberta driver posted the fastest lap time of the evening in the third and final session running 18.236 seconds on 3/8 mile clay oval track in Edmonton. 


#18 DEAN DEATHERAGE
----------------------------- (PHOTO: STP RACING MEMORIES)

"I haven't been on the track since September [Kindersley, Saskatchewan].  It was good to be able to shake down the car and get ready for the season opener."  Deatherage drove his Scott Safety #18 Dodge to a fourth place finish in the NPP Series Championship points chase last season. 


#88 CRYSTAL KENNEDY AND #69 MARK MILLER
------------------------- (PHOTO: STP RACING MEMORIES)

Calgary, Alberta's Mark Miller was quickest in Saturday night's opening practice session.  "I know I put the good numbers down early," says the driver of the A-1 Autobody #69 Chevrolet, "because I couldn't see where I was going at the end."  All the visor tear-off's on Millers helmet came off just four laps into the first session.  "I was driving blind.  I'm just glad I didn't run into anything."  Miller finished ninth in the NPP Series Championship points chase.  He wrapped up the 2013 season with a sixth place finish in the Feature event at Sangudo Speedway.  "Very happy to get this test session in," adds Miller,  "lots of positives heading into the season opener."  Running for NPP Series Rookie of the Year honors this season is Jay Carr.  "I know I'm going to be competitive this year."  Carr ran only two NPP Series points races last season wrapping up his season on a strong note with a fifth place finish in Sangudo, Alberta.  "I'm making a little bit more power this year with some of the changes I've made.  Unfortunately that extra power found the weak point in my car tonight."  The Devon, Alberta driver broke the rear end in his #33 Chevrolet halfway through the first test session.  "It's an easy fix.  We'll be ready for Rimbey." 


TEST 'N' TUNE TROUBLES FOR #33 CARR
------------------ (PHOTO: STP RACING MEMORIES)

Edson, Alberta's Crystal Kennedy got a huge confidence boost for the upcoming season Saturday night posting the fastest lap time in the second on-track test session.  "It's been a long off-season.  I just wanted to get back out on the track."  Kennedy's lap was her fastest lap in Edmonton in two seasons clocking in at 18.362 seconds.  "Had a lot of fun tonight.  The car ran really well.  Hopefully we can run this strong in Rimbey in a few weeks."  Kennedy finished sixth in the NPP Series Championship points chase last season.

The NPP Late Model Series opens the 2014 season at Central Alberta Raceways on May 31st.  The last time the Rimbey, Alberta race track hosted a NPP Series opener was back in 2006. 

SIDENOTE: The NPP Late Model Series attempted to LIVESTREAM the entire 'Test 'n' Tune session from Castrol Raceway Saturday night. Unfortunately the camera malfunctioned leaving only the audio feed.

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WATCH OUT FOR THE WHEELERS
WHITECOURT, AB (May 16) - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicks off its 14th consecutive season at Central Alberta Raceways on May 31st.  After finishing first and third in the NPP Series Championship points chase last season, brothers Kevin and Wayne Wheeler are looking confidently at the upcoming race season.  "This is such a competitive Series," explains Kevin Wheeler at his KW Mechanical customer appreciation BBQ, "it just brings the best out of you every race.  You can't have an off-night at all."  For the 2013 NPP Series champion, off-nights were non-existent.  The driver of the Bill Weins Trucking/Tundra Oilfield #3 Dodge grabbed five Feature wins, the most by one NPP Series driver since the 2007 season. 


KEVIN WHEELER: 2013 NPP LATE MODEL SERIES CHAMPION

"For the longest time [in this Series] we were the ones looking up at everyone ahead of us in the point standings.  The last few seasons things just starting clicking.  All eyes seem to be looking up at us now."  With back to back championships [2012 & 2013], Wheeler is only the second driver in NPP Series history to win consecutive championships. "Can I win three in a row?  I don't know," laughs a hesitant Wheeler, "I'd like to think I can but there are some that would like to put an end to it [winning streak]."  Wheeler is confident heading into the first race of the year at Central Alberta Raceways.  "Why change a good thing.  Other than a brand new engine, we are going with the exact same car we ran last year.  We were thinking of hanging a new body on the car but decided against that.  We're leaving a few character scuffs on the car from last season."

#3 KEVIN WHEELER - Past results
2013 Season Opener - WIN
2012  Season Opener - 2nd
2011 Season Opener - 3rd
2010 Season Opener - 4th
2009 Season Opener - 15th
2008 Season Opener - 16th
2007 Season Opener - 2nd
NPP Series debut - July 14th, 2006 (finished 14th)


BROTHERS KEVIN AND WAYNE WHEELER READY FOR 2014

Wayne Wheeler is still savoring his third place finish in the 2013 NPP Series Championship point standings plus his NPP Series Rookie of the Year honors.  "We had an exceptional year for our first year.  To finish where we did and being a first time team owner and driver, I don't think I could have asked for a better season."  Wayne Wheeler became the highest finishing rookie driver since the 2008 season. "We learned a lot and would like a repeat of last season.  Maybe we can even move up a few spots."  Wheeler turned heads at the 2013 season opener driving his Yaku Enterprises/Whitecourt Truck and Auto #4 Dodge to a second place finish in the Feature. Wheeler remained in the top 5 in the NPP Series Championship points chase for the entire 2013 season. 


WAYNE WHEELER: 2013 NPP SERIES ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

"Yes we had a bit of a learning curve last year," adds the former motocross racer, "I'm looking for an even better season this year."  Wheeler had an average Feature finish of 4.8 in 2013.  The Whitecourt, Alberta driver wrapped up the season with back to back third place finishes at two tracks (Kindersley, SK and Sangudo, AB).  "I've never competed in Rimbey before so it will be interesting to see how I do there."

The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series opens up its 14th consecutive season at Central Alberta Raceways on May 31st. This is the first time since 2006 that the Rimbey, Alberta track has hosted a NPP Series season opening event.

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FULL THROTTLE FAMILY
EDSON, AB (May 21) - Family has been an integral part of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series since its first official season back in 2001.  Larry and Earl Simpson were the first brothers to compete in the NPP Series in 2001 and finish top 10 in points.  The 2004 season saw Gerry and Trevor Emond becoming the first father and son to finish top 10 in the NPP Series Championship points chase.  In 2009 Dwight and Crystal Kennedy finished in the top 10, becoming the first father and daughter to accomplish this feat in the NPP Series.  When the checkered flag flew ending the 2013 race season, the NPP Late Model Series would see yet another first.  NPP Series founder Dwight Kennedy, along with son Shawn and daughter Crystal, finished in the top 10. This marked the very first time that three members of the same racing family would achieved a top 10 finish in the hard fought NPP Series points chase.  "It's been fun racing against my kids," says Dwight Kennedy, "they are very competitive.  Looking forward to racing against them again this year."  The 2014 race season is Kennedy's 25th consecutive year involved in motorsports as a driver, team owner and sponsor.  "It's been that long has it?" says the Edson, Alberta driver with a chuckle, "I think I've got a few more years behind the wheel still." 

The two-time NPP Late Model Series champion finished 5th in points in 2013.  "We had a pretty good season last year.  It's not as good as I wanted but what can you do."  Kennedy is adamant that he wants a strong start to the 2014 season.  "The first two races of last season were not good for us [finished 11th and 7th].  We can't do that again this year.  A win to kick off the season would sure be nice."  Central Alberta Raceways hosts the 2014 season opener of the NPP Late Model Series the end of the month. Dwight Kennedy has one Feature win and an average Feature finish of 5.75 at the Rimbey, Alberta track since it opened back in 2005.

Shawn and Crystal, Kennedy's son and daughter, continue their individual preparations for the upcoming 2014 race season.  Shawn Kennedy is coming of his best ever season ever in the NPP Late Model Series with a second place finish in the championship point standings.  "I surprised myself to be quite honest.  I drove with more confidence which definitely helped. It felt real good."  Kennedy's previous best NPP Series points finish was 5th back in 2006.  Kennedy credits his successful season on a new approach towards racing.  "I'm trying to focus on what I'm doing on the track rather than what everyone else is doing.  I had more hands on experience with the car last season.  Setting up the car the way I wanted it helped as well."


SHAWN KENNEDY FINISHED 2ND AT 2006 SEASON OPENER IN RIMBEY

Kennedy had an average Feature finish of 5.2 last season.  "I'm going to be trying some new stuff regarding the car set up this year.  I don't think it's been tried before. The first race in Rimbey will be a major testing ground for me."  Kennedy has three heat race wins and one pole position at Central Alberta Raceways.  His best Feature finish was second at the NPP Late Model Series 2006 season opener.  "I haven't run in Rimbey since 2008 [finished 15th].  A lot has changed.  Can't wait to go back."  Shawn Kennedy is also anxiously awaiting the opportunity to race against his father and sister.  "It's always good to spend some time away from work and go racing.  It's a bit of a stress reliever.  I like racing against my dad especially when I do better than him."


BEFORE THE SERIES: SHAWN AND CRYSTAL KENNEDY

Crystal Kennedy can't wait to get back to the track this season and compete against her dad and brother.  "I was six months old when my dad started racing," admits Crystal Kennedy who turns twenty-five this summer,  "I've always been around race cars.  It's a part of my life."  Kennedy indicates she races her brother and dad a little bit differently than other competitors on the track. "I think I'm a bit more competitive when around them.  I know I don't like it when my dad beats me."  Crystal finished ahead of her father twice in Feature events last season.  "My brother is a little bit more crazy [behind the wheel] but I managed to finish ahead of him a few times last year too." Crystal Kennedy finished the 2013 season sixth in points. 


CRYSTAL KENNEDY AT 2014 TEST 'n' TUNE (PHOTO :STP Racing Memories)

"I wanted a top five so bad last year but it so much harder to gain positions the higher you get in the standings.  Moving from say eleventh to ninth [in points] is not the same as moving from sixth to fourth."  Kennedy wants a strong opening night in Rimbey.  "This track has been fairly good to me.  It's a night race so that will make for better track conditions."  Kennedy has two top 10 finishes at Central Alberta Raceways.  "We finished 8th in our last race there."   Crystal Kennedy participated at the 'open' test 'n' tune at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway earlier this month [May 10th].  She posted the fastest lap time in one of the NPP Series on-track sessions.  "I think that little extra track time will pay off huge at our first race of the year."     

The 14th consecutive season of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicks off at Central Alberta Raceways on May 31st.  The Rimbey, Alberta track is celebrating its 10th season of Oval racing this year.

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NPP NEWCOMERS
EDMONTON, AB (May 26) - After taking the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series for a 'test drive' in 2013, Marc Hobe' and Jay Carr will be full-time competitors this season.  Both drivers retain their rookie status from last season and will campaign for NPP Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2014.  "It's a big step up from Street Stock [which I ran 2009 & 2010]," says Devon, Alberta's Jay Carr, "my goal is to be competitive this year and be able to stick with the pack. Getting the rookie of the year would be nice. "  Carr, a senior technician at Devon Chrysler Dodge Jeep, competed in just two NPP Series points races in 2013.  He wrapped up the NPP season with a strong fifth place Feature finish at Sangudo Speedway.  "I was told that you need deep pockets to run in this Series.  That's not necessarily true.  It's a good group of guys to run with.  At the races I was at [last season], they really helped me out with some set up advice.  I appreciate that."  Despite looking forward to the 2014 race season, Carr enters the upcoming season with a heavy heart.  Jack Lund, his former car owner and sponsor, passed away on May 5th at the age of 62. "I'll definitely be racing for Jack and his family this year," says Carr, "he was a huge supporter of racing, he was my major sponsor and I want to do him proud this season."  Carr is making up a special roof decal for his #33 Chevrolet in memory of his friend and sponsor.


JAY CARR: 2014 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CONTENDER

When Marc Hobe' loaded his race trailer in Safford, Arizona in the spring of 2013 and headed to Canada, little did he know how much he would enjoy moving back to the Great White North.  "I was done living in the States.  I lived in Arizona for forty years.  It was time for a change."  Hobe', was born in Wetaskwin, Alberta in 1959 but grew up in the Red Deer area.  "We lived in Canada for ten years but in 1970 moved down to Arizona."  Hobe's father was a real estate executive. "My dad was never into cars at all," explains Hobe', "I started racing in the High School Drag racing program when we lived in California.  I did the straight line for about 12 years."



HOBE' DRAG RACED HIS 69 MUSTANG IN ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA

In the early 1990's Hobe' got involved at the local dirt track in Mesa, Arizona.  "I started out as a crew chief [on a dirt late model] and then in 1995 got behind the wheel of a street stock."  Hobe' finished second in points three straight seasons at Tri-State Speedway in Safford Arizona.  "I ran one of my last races in the US [at Tuscon Speedway] in 2008."  With his move back to Canada, Hobe' originally planned on settling down in Red Deer but an unexpected but rewarding job offer fell into his lap.  "I'm working in the maintenance department at the Brightwood Ranch youth camp." 


HOBE' GETTING IN SOME LAPS AT SANGUDO SPEEDWAY

The Hope Mission's Brightwood Ranch, located near Evansburg, Alberta, is a Christian camp for orphans, inner city and foster children.  The Hope Mission logo will be on Hobe's #2 Ford this season.  "I want to give Hope Mission and Brightwood Ranch some exposure at the tracks we run at this season.  There are a lot of kids being raised by grandparents today because their parents aren't there for them for one reason or another."  Hobe says many of the camps staff and volunteers will be at the NPP Series event at Sangudo Speedway on the Canada Day long weekend.  "I really enjoyed running at Sangudo last year.  I'm glad we're going back this year." Marc Hobe' competed in only two NPP Series points events last season.  In his NPP Series debut last July, Hobe finished 10th in the Feature. 

The NPP Late Model Series kicks off its 14th consecutive season at Central Alberta Raceways on Saturday, May 31st.  This is the first time since 2006 that the Rimbey, Alberta racetrack has hosted the season opener of the NPP Late Model Series.

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EVENT UPDATE: (as of 9:15am) Central Alberta Raceway track officials have cancelled tonights scheduled race event featuring the NPP Late Model Series and the IMCA Modified Series. A heavy downpour of rain fell in the Rimbey, Alberta region for close to two hours just after midnight. Track and maintenance officials were already dealing with two straight days of heavy rain from Wednesday and Thursday. The competitor pit area and spectator parking area are in very poor condition with plenty of standing water. The oval track itself was in excellent shape before the massive overnight rainfall.

RACE DAY: RIMBEY, ALBERTA

RIMBEY, AB (May 31) - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicks off its 14th consecutive season at Central Alberta Raceways today. This is the 10th season of operation for the Rimbey, Alberta facility. On July 30th, 2005, the facility held its very first race featuring the NPP Late Model Series on its 3/8 mile oval track.


KENNEDY WINS FIRST NPP SERIES EVENT IN RIMBEY (2005 Photo: NPP ARCHIVES)

Edson, Alberta's Dwight Kennedy went to victory lane at this inaugural event. Since 2005 the NPP Series has scheduled a total of 12 events in Rimbey. Unfortunately for everyone involved, seven of those scheduled appearances have been cancelled due to rain or wet snow. Last season, the June 9th appearance was rained out. A hastily organized June 22nd rain date was also rained out.


TOP PERFORMER IN RIMBEY SINCE 2005: BRUCE BROUGHTON

Bruce Broughton was the last NPP Series driver to head to victory lane in Rimbey. The Stony Plain, Alberta driver swept the June 23rd, 2012 event, winning his heat race, the 'A' Dash and also took the checkered flag in the Feature. Broughton is one of the top performers in Rimbey with 4 heat race wins, 2 pole wins and 1 Feature win. The Stony Plain, Alberta driver also won a heat race at the inaugural 2005 oval event. Edson, Alberta's Shawn Kennedy has 3 heat race wins and 1 pole win in Rimbey. Kennedy would like to forget his last appearance at Central Alberta Raceways back in 2008 where he crashed out and finished 15th. Sidney, British Columbia's Darrell Midgley has 2 heat wins in Rimbey but has never finished better than 13th in a Feature event. There are several NPP Series drivers that will be competing at Central Alberta Raceways for the very first time including Dean Deatherage (Whitecourt, Alberta), 2013 NPP Series Rookie of the Year Wayne Wheeler (Whitecourt, Alberta), Mark Miller (Calgary, Alberta) and Marc Hobe' (Safford, Arizona).


> SATURDAY, May 31st
Classes Racing:
NPP Late Model Series (2014 Season Opener)
IMCA Modifieds
Hobby Stocks
Mini Stocks


COMPETITOR GATES @ 1:00pm (TRANSPONDERS: Yes // RACECEIVERS: Yes)

SPECTATOR GATES @ 5:00pm // RACING STARTS @ 6:00pm

SPECTATOR ADMISSION
$10.00 General
$ 5.00 Youth (ages 9 - 12)
FREE Children 8 and under

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RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY
RIMBEY, AB (May 31) - Officials with the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series figured a bullet was dodged when they toured Central Alberta Raceways on Friday afternoon. The Rimbey, Alberta race track endured two straight days of torrential rainfall yet showed little repercussions from the moisture.  "The pits were drying out nicely," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "the track was looking awesome.  I was positive that we we're going to get our season opener in on Saturday night." 


C.A.R. OFFICIALS PREPPING THE OVAL TRACK FRIDAY AFTERNOON

Unfortunately a freak overnight rainstorm blasted the region ending any chance that the green flag would fly.  "I was watching the weather radar just after midnight and knew we we're in trouble." The phone rang at 8:00am [Saturday] with the cancellation news from Rimbey track officials.   Craig indicates he was more disappointed than surprised.  "These guys work so hard [in Rimbey].  They were working on the track till 9 o'clock Friday night.  The last few years they really haven't gotten any breaks from the weather at all." The beginning of May saw a two-day Mud Bog show cut short due to snow and well below normal temperatures. 


FRIDAY AFTERNOON VISIT TO CENTRAL ALBERTA RACEWAYS

"We have such a short racing season and to lose any races is pretty tough."  Since 2008, the NPP Series has had a total of seven Rimbey race dates wiped-out due to weather. "Those are eye opening numbers for sure."  Bruce Broughton was the last NPP Series competitor to head to victory lane in Rimbey.  Ironically this June 23rd, 2012 Feature event was cut short due to rain. 


2012 SEASON: LAST VISIT TO RIMBEY

"We were really looking forward to trying out the new configuration of the Rimbey oval Saturday night. They widened the track by about 15 to 20 feet. Now teams will have to wait for the season championship weekend in September to hit the Rimbey track again."  At this point no rainout date is planned for loss of Saturday nights race.  With the rainout in Rimbey, Edmonton's Castrol Raceway will now host the 2014 Season Opener of the NPP Late Model Series on Saturday, June 7th.                

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