EDMONTON, AB (May 1) -  Castrol Raceway hosts its open test 'n' tune on Saturday, May 2nd.  This is the first officially scheduled event of the race season.  All classes that are competing on Edmonton's 3/8 mile clay oval track in 2015 are welcome to come out and shake off the winter cobwebs.  Several Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series race teams will be taking advantage of the extra track time before the actual NPP Series race season begins on May 23rd. 


Right now the weather is not looking too promising for Saturday's test 'n' tune.  The current forecast (as of 4:00pm Friday) is calling for a 60% chance of rain showers with possible thundershowers in the afternoon.  Despite the unfavorable forecast, the NPP Late Model Series will be testing its Live Video Stream equipment at the track on Saturday whether cars are on the race track or not.

NOON - Pit Gates Open
2:00PM - Test 'n' tune

Regular backgate fee's apply for drivers and crew.
Castrol Raceway is charging a spectator admission for the test 'n' tune.


(May 4) - An epic North vs. South battle is brewing in the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series for the upcoming race season.  Along with showing off their brand new paint schemes for the 2015 season, Mark Miller and Shawn Kennedy both displayed quiet confidence at Saturday's test 'n' tune in Edmonton.  "We need to make a few more adjustments," says defending season champion Mark Miller, "other than that, we were pretty happy with the car in testing."  The Calgary, Alberta driver knows that a bit of a target is on his back heading into 2015 and that a strong start to the new season is a must.  "We've never been in this position before.  Last year was our first ever season championship.  My team is ready.  We are really looking forward to the year."  In his 2013 rookie season, Miller finished 9th in the NPP Late Model Series Championship point standings.

----------------------------------------------------------------- (photo: STP Racing Memories)

In 2014 it was Edson, Alberta's Shawn Kennedy that finished 9th in the NPP Series chase.  "One of the big things that affected my season last year was that I was playing around so much on my car.  At the end of the year I got the car close to where I wanted it to be."  Last September, Kennedy grabbed a second place finish on the first night of NPP Series championship weekend in Rimbey, Alberta.  "I'm not going to be doing so much experimenting this year," admits Kennedy, "I'm just going to go out and try to win."  Kennedy says his weekend test 'n' tune session in Edmonton was not without its hiccups. "We bent up a control arm on our last on-track session. It's an easy repair.  The car was really good up until that point. I expect to have a pretty good season."  The 15th consecutive season of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series begins on May 23rd at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.


BEAUMONT, AB (May 15) - Does marriage change the way one competes in a race car?  Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competitor Dean Deatherage says no.  "Yes it's going to be my first season as a married man," laughs the driver of Scott Safety #18 Dodge, "however there will be no changes to how I race and yes, Shelly [my wife] will be part of the crew."  Deatherage got married during the off-season down in Mexico. Several NPP Series drivers have quietly stated behind the scenes that 2015 could be a breakout year for Deatherage.  Impressive on-track performances the past several seasons backs up this vote of support. 


The Beaumont, Alberta driver has finished in the Top 10 in every NPP Series Feature events he's competed in since August 18th, 2012. Deatherage has an average Feature finish of 6.4 the past three seasons.  In his 23 starts in NPP Series competition [since September 6, 2008], Deatherage has 18 Top 10's and 4 Top 5's. "I had a soft start to the season last year but I still ended up in the same position [in the standings] as two years ago."  Deatherage finished fourth in the 2013 and 2014 NPP Series Championship points chase.  "I've definitely thought about things that could have gone better and things that could have gone worse.  I was getting upset at stuff out of my control which really threw me off."  Married life just might mellow out Deatherage a little for the 2015 season but maybe not as much as everyone thinks it will.  "It's always a goal to win in this class," adds Deatherage, "this season I'm going to concentrate more on having fun."  The fun factor adjustment might be the right ingredient needed for the breakout year his fellow competitors believe will take place.

#18 DEAN DEATHERAGE - Beaumont, Alberta
23 Starts
18 Top 10's
4  Top 5's
4  Heat wins
1  Pole
0  Feature wins


WHITECOURT, AB (May 17) - Brothers Kevin and Wayne Wheeler have been a powerful driving duo in the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  Unfortunately the racing programs from both brothers are being ratcheted down dramatically in 2015.  The two brothers, business owners in Whitecourt, are eyeing the current state of the Alberta economy with a little bit of caution.  Kevin Wheeler owns KW Mechanical which services the oil field and heavy hauling industry.  Wayne Wheeler, is owner of Whitecourt Auto Sales, one of the bigger independent car, truck and RV lots in the region. 


After finishing 5th in 2014, Wayne Wheeler, the 2013 NPP Series Rookie of the Year, will most likely sit out the entire 2015 NPP Series race season.  The competitive streak will still be running strong.  Wayne Wheeler returns to dirt bike racing with the Alberta Old Timers Motocross Association and will compete in the 40+ expert class.  Wayne's brother Kevin has indicated that he will run a limited season in the NPP Series in 2015.  "The car is pretty well back together," admits the two-time NPP Series Champion,  "but I know already that I won't be at the season opener [in Edmonton] because I'll be checking off another item on my bucket list." 


Wheeler will be attending the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24th.  "I was at a charity auction and tickets for this event came up for bids.  I've always wanted to see this race.  There wasn't much action [bidding] on this item at all.  So I put my hand up a few times.  I never thought I'd be the highest bidder".  Last year, Wheeler became the first driver in NPP Series history to win back to back season openers [2013 and 2014].  His early season victory in 2014 had many thinking he'd cruise to another NPP Series championship.   "Crashing out in Edmonton and losing the points lead was pretty tough.  Wiping out the car in Rimbey at the final race of the year sealed the deal.  For the kind of year we had and to say we finished third in points though is pretty amazing."           

#3 KEVIN WHEELER - Whitecourt, Alberta
76 Starts
51 Top 10's
37  Top 5's
21  Heat wins
7  Pole
9  Feature wins

#4 WAYNE WHEELER - Whitecourt, Alberta
15 Starts
10 Top 10's
5  Top 5's
2  Heat wins
1 Pole
0  Feature wins


EDSON, AB (May 19) - They may share the last name but when Dwight, Shawn and Crystal Kennedy hit the race track, getting to the finish line first is always the number one goal.  The owner of Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. and founder of the NPP Late Model Series is looking at the upcoming season with optimism.   "Maybe this will be the year because we sure have had lots of experience finishing second in this Series over the years."  Including the 2014 season, Dwight Kennedy has finished second in the NPP Series Championship points chase a total of five times in his familiar red and white #81 Dodge.  "What do you do," reflects the 2001 and 2006 NPP Series Champion, "we had one race last year where we did not finish [brake failure].  If we didn't have that problem we probably could have won this."  Kennedy finished just 28 points out of top spot in the standings.  Including the final race of the 2014 season at Central Alberta Raceways, Kennedy had two second place finishes in Feature events.  "Except for that one race in Rimbey, we had a really good car all season long.  Let's hope that will continue into this season."  The two-time NPP Series champion reaches a milestone in 2015.  The Edson, Alberta driver will start in his 150th NPP Series race event on the Gold Cup race weekend in July.  "I've been racing hard since the early 1990's.  Probably have raced close to 300 events by now."


After a second place finish in the NPP Series Championship points chase in 2013, Dwight's son Shawn Kennedy finished 9th in the points chase in 2014.  "One of the big things that affected my season last year was that I was playing around so much on my car," admits Kennedy, "I'm not going to be doing so much experimenting this year, I'm just going to go out and try to win."  Kennedy would like to end a Feature winless drought that dates back over eight seasons.  "Getting a win would be great to kick off the year would be great," adds Kennedy, "having the first part of the season in Edmonton is really going to help.  I like running there."  Kennedy best finish of the season was a second in Rimbey on the second last race night of the season.  Kennedy last went to victory lane at Speedy Creek Raceway in Swift Current Saskatchewan on August 6th, 2006. 


Shawn's sister Crystal Kennedy recently moved to Whitecourt, Alberta leaving her #88 Dodge race car at the NPP shop in Edson, Alberta.  The change of scenery is not expected to hamper her attendance in the NPP Late Model Series in 2015.  Crystal Kennedy finished 6th in the 2014 NPP Series Championship points chase, missing out on her first ever Top 5 finish in the standings by just 36 points.  Like her father, Crystal will also be hitting a milestone this season.  On the second night of the Gold Cup race weekend in July,  Kennedy will start in her 100th, NPP Late Model Series event.

# 7 SHAWN KENNEDY - Edson, Alberta
88 Starts
41 Top 10's
14 Top 5's
21  Heat wins
7 Pole
1  Feature wins

#81 DWIGHT KENNEDY - Edson, Alberta
147 Starts
117 Top 10's
87 Top 5's
58 Heat wins
19 Pole
25 Feature wins

#88 CRYSTAL KENNEDY - Whitecourt, Alberta
96 Starts
39 Top 10's
10 Top 5's
4  Heat wins
1 Pole
0  Feature wins


STONY PLAIN, AB (May 21) - Racing veteran Bruce Broughton wants to forget much of the 2014 racing season and focus on 2015.  "Sure didn't have the season we were hoping for last year.  It was the first time in a long time we didn't podium [in a Feature event].  Hoping that this year will be a little bit different."  After blowing an engine on the final race weekend last year, the Stony Plain, Alberta driver finished 11th in the 2014 NPP Series Championship points chase.  The driver of the Habitat for Humanity/All Weather Windows #61 Dodge did get as high as third in the standings last season.  "With the way the schedule is now you have to be on your game every race.  You cannot come up short at any event now.  It will be important to finish well at the beginning, the middle and the end of this season." 

Broughton was the NPP Series Rookie of the Year in 2005.  In 2010 Broughton won his first NPP Series Championship.  Broughton however missed the entire 2013 season after suffering a major heart attack just weeks before the season opener.  "Definitely have a new outlook on things after what happened two years ago," says Broughton, "feeling really good now and can't wait to get this season started."  In eight previous NPP Series season opening races, Broughton has an average Feature finish of 9.1.  "This is an extremely tough Series but that's what makes it fun," exclaims Broughton, "we managed to win the season opener the same year we won the championship."  Broughton finished 5th at last year's season opening race in Edmonton.  This was Broughton's best Feature finish of 2014.

#61 BRUCE BROUGHTON - Stony Plain, Alberta
84 Starts
57 Top 10's
34 Top 5's
45  Heat wins
5 Pole
8  Feature wins


EDMONTON, AB (May 23) - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series kicks off its 15th consecutive season tonight in Edmonton, Alberta. This is the 5th consecutive year that Castrol Raceway has hosted the season opener of the NPP Late Model Series.  Since 2001 the NPP Series has seen 9 different drivers win the first race of the season.  Defending NPP Series champion Mark Miller would like to be the 10th.  "This is a tough series," says the Calgary, Alberta driver, "bringing the car home in one piece [at all races] is huge."  Miller realizes there is a big target on his back this year courtesy last years championship.  "We've never been in this position before.  Last year was our first ever season championship."  At just 27 years of age, Miller is the youngest champion in NPP Series history.  Miller had an average Feature finish of 5.6 in 2014. Before joining the NPP Late Model Series in 2013, Miller spent close to a decade running Late Models and Legends Cars at select Canadian and American tracks.  Miller finished 3rd at last year's season opener.


Darrell Midgley, the 2009 NPP Late Model Series Champion, knows the importance of winning the season opener.  "You need a strong start in this series.  You can't afford to fall behind early in the point standings."  Midgley is one of six drivers that won the NPP Series season opener and season championship in the same year.  "There is some good competition here and you have to be on your game to win."  Midgley finished 4th at last year's season opener.  He enters the 2015 race season riding a two-race winning streak.  The Sidney, British Columbia driver won back to back Features at the last race weekend of the 2014 season at Rimbey's Central Alberta Raceways.  "I had never won a Feature in Rimbey before. I know it's been a while since I've won a race in Edmonton." Midgley last won a Feature at Castrol Raceway back on July 11, 2009. "This is another drought I'd like to see come to an end."


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 (heats completed)
2002    Larry Simpson
2001    Larry Simpson

** also won season championship in same year


- Hot, dry conditions greeted race teams of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series on the weekend.  Despite the scorching temperatures, winless droughts came to an end for two drivers.  Darrell Midgley overcame difficult track conditions Saturday night to win the NPP Series season opener at Castrol Raceway.  This was Midgley's first Feature event win in Edmonton since July 11, 2009. "Pretty happy with that.  The car worked well.  Ted [Zerbin] did a really good job setting it up.  Shawn [Kennedy] put it back together during the winter and did a very good job for us.  Very happy.  Couldn't have gone much better."  Midgley's night started off on a sour note during his opening Heat race.  The Sidney, British Columbia driver cut down a tire on his Integra Tire (Edson) #14 Dodge and did not return.  Sour turned to sweet when the Feature event line-up showed the veteran racer on the pole for the first NPP Series Feature of 2015. 


At the drop of the green the 2009 NPP Series Champion was challenged early by defending season champion Mark Miller.  The Calgary, Alberta driver unfortunately retired before the race was half over due to an overheating engine leaving Midgley all alone to outpace the field.  Shawn Kennedy would charge from near the back of the pack to the front in the Feature but ran out of laps to catch Midgley.   After winning his first Heat race in Edmonton since July 12, 2008, Kennedy drove his TheRebel.media #7 Dodge to a second place finish in the Saturday night Feature. 


It was a good first night of the season for 2010 NPP Series Champion Bruce Broughton. The Stony Plain, Alberta finished third in the Feature in his Habitat for Humanity/All Weather Windows #61 Dodge. This was Broughton's first podium finish in NPP Series action since his June 23rd, 2012 Feature win at Rimbey's Central Alberta Raceways. Despite the Feature win by Midgley and the bonus points earned for laps lead, Shawn Kennedy is the early NPP Series points leader thanks to his heat race win. Kennedy leads Midgley in the NPP Late Model Series standings by just a single point.

- Midgley's victory was his third consecutive Feature win dating back to the weekend sweep in September at Rimbey's Central Alberta Raceways.  Midgley becomes just the 6th driver in NPP Series history to win three consecutive Features.
- Midgley becomes just the third driver in NPP Series history to win the season opening Feature from the pole position. (2013 - Kevin Wheeler / 2007 - Jason Beaulieu).  
- The driver that that won the season opener has gone on to win the NPP Series championship 6 times. Midgley won his lone NPP Series championship in 2009.....he won the 2009 season opener in Lethbridge.
- Despite being under the weather Saturday night, two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy finished the Saturday night Feature in 4th.  Darin Borysko was in the pits on stand-by to fill-in for Kennedy if needed.
- After a third place finish in his heat race, Beaumont, Alberta's Dean Deatherage shattered the left rear tire and bell housing of his Scott Safety #19 Dodge in the opening laps of the Feature.
- Sylvan Lake, Alberta's Marc Hobe' had thermostat and transmission issues in his #2 Ford.
- Ed Beatty made his NPP Late Model Series debut Saturday night.  The former Ontario Pavement Late Model racer was credited with an 8th place finish in his first ever NPP Feature.

Next race event for the NPP Late Model Series is Saturday night June 27th back in Edmonton.