TEAM NPP BACK ON TRACK
VICTORIA, BC. (May 1) - Last weekend it was Darrell Midgley driving the Team NPP #81 Dodge Super Late Model in Washington State.  This weekend, Team NPP returns to Washington but with Lane Zerbin and the Northern Provincial Pipelines/Alien Chassis #81 Modified.  Grays Harbor Raceway hosts race number three of the 2017 Washington Modified Tour on Saturday, May 6th.  "It's our first race of the season," exclaims Zerbin, "I'm really looking forward to getting back on the track again."  The Victoria, British Columbia driver made his Modified debut at the Elma, Washington track back on May 9th, 2015 and finished an impressive 12th in the Feature.  In 2016, one of his two Feature wins came at Grays Harbor Raceway.


GHR FEATURE WINNER: AUGUST 27, 2016

"We are going to run the Modified at Grays Harbor a few times this year," admits Zerbin, "another win here would sure be nice." Sponsorship permitting, the 2017 season could be one of the busiest for the 21 year-old.  "The plan right now is to try and run ten to fifteen events."  Zerbin hopes to return to Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon later this season.  "That's where I got my first ever Modified win."  Over thirty Modified teams are expected to be in the pits at Grays Harbor Raceway for this weekends event.



> SATURDAY, MAY 6th
Classes racing:
Washington Modified Tour
Sportsman Sprint Cars
Outlaw Tuners
Street Stocks

5:30pm - Gates Open
7:00pm - Racing

Spectator Admission
$13.00 - General
$9.00 - Youth/Seniors/Military
$5.00 - Children (7 - 15)
Free - Children under 6
$34.00 - Family Pass

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UPDATE: Lane Zerbin and Team NPP did not even leave the race shop in Victoria, British Columbia for the trip to Elma, Washington. The engine in the Northern Provincial Pipelines/Alien Chassis #81 Modified is being changed over to run methanol instead of gasoline. The team was hoping to have the changeover completed before the race weekend but encountered a few complications. Circled on the calendar is Grays Harbor Raceway and the May 20th race date.

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TRACKING THE TRACKS (part II)
EDMONTON, AB (May 8) - Officials at Castrol Raceway have responded to requests from Sprint and Stock Car competitors and will now be holding a test and tune on their 3/8mile oval track.  The last minute addition to the 2017 schedule comes on the heels of test and tune events the past two weekends at both Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey and Drayton Valley Speedway.  The Edmonton, Alberta track will be holding their oval test and tune on Saturday, May 13th starting at 1pm.  Castrol Raceway is celebrating its 26th consecutive year of oval racing in 2017.


CASTROL RACEWAY on Monday, May 8th

Meanwhile another Alberta racetrack is removing race dates from its schedule. Sangudo Speedway is delaying its season opener by two months thanks in part to facility renovations that are taking longer than expected. For only the second time since 1991 (2008 & 2017), the Sangudo, Alberta track will not be running any races on the May long weekend. The season opening delay (May 20th/21st) also means the June 24th/25th race dates at Sangudo Speedway are cancelled as well. Barring any further complications, Sangudo Speedway will host its first race of the 2017 season on July 15th and 16th. At this point there are no indication weather Central Alberta Raceways or Drayton Valley Speedway will claim the cancelled Sangudo Speedway race dates. A tentative plan by Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series officials to schedule a two-day race weekend at Sangudo Speedway in June has now been scrapped.


SANGUDO SPEEDWAY - NPP Series file photo

The NPP Late Model Series begins its 17th consecutive season of race action May 26th and 27th at Central Alberta Raceways.

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RED FLAG FOR SEASON OPENER
EDMONTON, AB (May 22) - Due to an anticipated low car count, officials with the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series are pushing back the start of the 2017 race season.  "We were scheduled to begin our season in Rimbey this weekend," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "that's not going to be happening now."  Craig admits that only four teams would be showing up for May 26th/27th event at Central Alberta Raceways.  "If we had four cars show up and one has mechanical problems what then. It's pretty hard to put on a proper show for race fans when there are only three cars on the track." 


FIVE NPP SERIES TEAMS COMPETED AT 2016 SEASON OPENER IN RIMBEY

This is the second year in a row that NPP Series officials have been faced with a low car count.  "We had five NPP Series race teams at last year's season opener.  The racing was fantastic but the lack of cars really stood out."  There was a time when car counts in the NPP Late Model Series was never an issue.


AVERAGE NPP SERIES CAR COUNT IN RIMBEY 2005 - 2014 = 16
AVERAGE NPP SERIES CAR COUNT IN RIMBEY 2015 - 2016 = 6.25

"We used to have eighteen to twenty teams in the pits for all of our race events. The times have certainly changed."  The state of Alberta economy the past few years is getting part of the blame for the recent lower car counts.  "The economy is showing some signs of improvement however the expected car count bump for this season is just not happening."  The NPP Late Model Series is not the only racing division in Alberta that has seen a dramatic decline in its car count.  "We're hearing that a few race events this year around the province have had classes with only two or three cars racing.  It's not good."  The July 21st/22nd  Gold Cup race in Edmonton is the next race on the 2017 NPP Series schedule.  "We were hoping to schedule a race at Sangudo Speedway in June but that will not be taking place because track officials there are delaying the start to their race season to July."  NPP Series officials have approximately two months to work things out. Two lengthy streaks, spanning almost two decades, are in jeopardy of coming to an end. The NPP Late Model Series has run 16 consecutive seasons since its first official season back in 2001.  The NPP Late Model made its official Edmonton debut at the 1999 Gold Cup and has been the support class at Canada's oldest Sprint Car race for 18 consecutive seasons.


2017 NPP LATE MODEL SERIES SCHEDULE
Friday, May 26                       Central Alberta Raceways - Rimbey
Saturday, May 27                   Central Alberta Raceways - Rimbey
Sat/Sun, June 24/25??          ?Sangudo Speedway - Sangudo, Alberta?
Friday, July 21                        Castrol Raceway - Edmonton
Saturday, July 22                    Castrol Raceway - Edmonton
Saturday, August 26               Drayton Valley Speedway - Drayton Valley
Sunday, August 27                 Drayton Valley Speedway - Drayton Valley
Friday, September 22             Central Alberta Raceways - Rimbey
Sunday, September 23            Central Alberta Raceways - Rimbey

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DETERMINED DUPERRON
EDMONTON, AB (May 30) - The 2016 Rookie of the Year in the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series was behind the wheel of his Casylor Engines/Northern Lights Welding #108 Chevrolet on the weekend in Edmonton.  Jeff Duperron was competing in the Super Stock class at the 2017 Castrol Raceway season opener.  "Last season was a bit of a test drive for me (in the NPP Series)," admits Duperron, "the car was underpowered so winning the rookie of the year was a bonus."  The season opening delay of the NPP Late Model Series for 2017 allowed Duperron to race in Edmonton for track points.  "I only have six races on this car," says the Ashmont, Alberta driver,  "it's pretty much the same as last year.  The way the car is right now, I can run in either class."  Duperron says he hopes to be a little quicker on the track when it comes to future NPP Series events.  "I have an engine back at the shop that I can't use in the Super Stock class.  It's only for the NPP Series." 


DUPERRON AT CASTROL RACEWAY SATURDAY NIGHT

The opportunity to find out if his NPP Series engine is competitive won't be known until July.  "It's too bad for the delay (to the season).  I really enjoyed running the NPP Series last year.  I'll be ready for the Gold Cup."  As far as his on track action Saturday night in Edmonton, Dupperon was hoping for a better night.  "We had distributor problems in the heat race and had to pull off.  The Feature race was a lot better until we lost our power steering."  Duperron built up a commanding two-second lead by the halfway point of the Feature until the power steering issue turned his dominating race car into a major handful.  "Couldn't do anything with it in the corners.  I was just along for the ride."  The Super Stock Feature win went to Edmonton, Alberta's Matt Martel. Dupperon, the only real challenger to Martel in the Feature, finished second. NPP Series officials continue behind the scenes work on bolstering the car count numbers for the 2017 Gold Cup event at Castrol Raceway on July 21st and 22nd.  The NPP Late Model has been the support class to Canada's oldest open wheel race event since 1999.

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