(October 14) - Planning for the 2012 race season of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is well underway.  "The goal right now is to have a tentative schedule released before the end of the year," says NPP Series announcer and media relations director Gord Craig, " we hope to have a few sponsor announcements sprinkled in there as well."  At this early stage in the planning process, both Edmonton and Lethbridge will have a points race in 2012.  "Both tracks will play a major role in NPP Series Champioinship points chase next season." 


The NPP Late Model Series wrapped up its 10th anniversary season in September at Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge, Alberta.  "Four tracks (Edmonton, Lethbridge, Drumheller, Okotoks) have all hosted a season opening race but this was the first time in Series history that the season championship race was held at a track other than Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.  I think the change of scenery for the last race of the season was good for the Series." 


The NPP Late Model Series has competed at eight different racing venues in its history.  "It's probably too soon to say we are returning to all the race tracks that we've competed at in the past.  Where we race next season will be up for discussion when NPP Series teams meet at the annual off-season meeting."

RACE TRACKS                              -----     NPP SERIES DEBUT
Castrol Raceway - Edmonton, AB                             --May 2001
Central Alberta Raceways - Rimbey, AB                  ---June 2005
Rocky Mountain Raceway Park - Okotoks, AB        ---July 2005
Bridge County Raceway - Lethbridge, AB                ---June 2006
Rapid Fire Motorsports Park - Drayton Valley, AB  ---August 2006
Speedy Creek Raceway - Swift Current, SK         -----August 2006
Hidden Valley Motorsports Park**- Drumheller, AB --May 2007
Grays Harbor Raceway - Elma, Washington             ---August 2008  

**now operating at new location in Drumheller as Dinosaur Downs Speedway


LETHBRIDGE, AB (October 16) - Alberta's racing scene has been dealt a nasty blow.  Bridge County Raceway, Western Canada's fastest dirt track is shutting its doors after 20 seasons of racing.  In a weekend press release, owners James and Cathy Hadnagy indicate that their business partner and track founder George Mercer has decided to retire and spend time traveling with his wife (Marj).  "Kathy and myself have both decided to close the gates after 20 years.  This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make as owners of Bridge County Raceway, but with the re-opening of High River Speedway, it has been made easier for us." 


The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competed at the Southern Alberta track 11 times over the course of six seasons.  "This was one of the best tracks I've run at," says veteran racer and 2007 NPP Series Champion Jason Beaulieu, "it was a fast wide open track that had incredible management and staff." 


Beaulieu grabbed five NPP Feature wins at BCR.  His son Chris Beaulieu won the last NPP Series race in Lethbridge back in September.  "This was a fun track to race at," says Beaulieu from his Campbell River, British Columbia home, "this is not good news at all."  Edson, Alberta's Dwight Kennedy won two Features in Lethbridge including the inaugural NPP Series race in June of 2006.  "Its disappointing news," exclaims the two-time NPP Series Champion, "we really enjoyed racing their.  The track was always prepped well. We've had some pretty good races there over the years. We've had some pretty hard hits there as well." 


The NPP Late Model Series was looking at holding as many as six race events in Lethbridge during the 2012 season.  The closure of Bridge County Raceway is expected to be a hot topic at the NPP Series fall meeting.  The pending re-opening of Rocky Mountain Raceway Park near Okotoks in 2012 (shut down after 2009 season) will also be discussed.          


Jason Beaulieu           5
Dwight Kennedy        2
Chris Beaulieu            1
Kevin Clark               1
Darrell Midgley          1
Kevin Wheeler           1


(October 25) - The month of October has not been kind for two Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competitors.  Both Kevin Wheeler and Jason Beaulieu are nursing cracked and broken bones in separate off-season motocross incidents in their home provinces.  Wheeler crashed hard at an Alberta Oldtimers Motocross Association event on the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  Two weeks later Beaulieu went down at a motocross track near his Campbell River, British Columbia home.  "My entire side is still bruised," says Wheeler from his home in Whitecourt, Alberta, "I also cracked a couple of ribs."  After a second and third place finish in the first two races at the Antler Lake track near Sherwood Park, Alberta, Wheeler went down the third race of the day. The driver of the #3 KW Mechanical Dodge is known to have a pretty good sense of humor. Wheeler however was not laughing in the days following the crash.  "It hurt to laugh, it hurt to sneeze.  I'm still pretty sore right now.  My hip is not as bad but my ribs still hurt." Wheeler joked about his future as a motocross racer. "You probably won't see me competing at any more motocross events...... but never say never." 


Jason Beaulieu meanwhile shattered his left wrist in a wicked motocross crash on October 15th.  "I just got back into riding (non-competitive) about 7 months ago to keep in shape," indicates the 2007 NPP Series Champion, "I gave it up 10 years ago after a bad crash.  It was nasty.  I broke my ankle, broke several ribs, tore my ACL and bruised my kidney."  Beaulieu and his soon to be son-in-law (Colton Mclean) were riding at the Campbell River Motorcross track.  "We basically were playing follow the leader.  He led and I followed.  I did keep pace with him for two laps," laughs Beaulieu,  "but I quickly found out why he's a pro and I'm not."  Beaulieu was tossed off his bike after a hard landing.  Ironically this crash was exactly ten years to the day of his last big motocross crash.  "I knew something broke.  I got my helmet off, scraped the sand out of my eyes and all I saw were bones coming through my wrist."  Beaulieu underwent surgery less than 24 hours after the crash. "I had pin's in my wrist and a cast up to my shoulder when I woke up."  Beaulieu planned on racing his open wheel modified at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Duel In The Desert event next month.  "The cast comes off in three weeks.  I still plan on being at this race.  If I don't feel up to it, the backup plan is my son Chris will race."  The 14th annual Duel in The Desert features over 200 IMCA Modified competitors from all over North America.          


EDSON, AB. (November 1) - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is one of the toughest dirt track series in Western Canada.  Despite a few on-track challenges in 2011,  two Edson, Alberta drivers saw their best ever finish in the NPP Series championship points chase.  Darin Borysko finished third, while Crystal Kennedy became the highest finishing female racer in NPP Series history wrapping up her season in sixth.   "Looking back, losing a tire at the season opener (Edmonton) definitely hurt us," admits Borysko, "but we clawed our way back.  Our strong weekend in Lethbridge (2nd and 4th place) gave us a decent finish to the season." Borysko's previous best finish in the NPP Series points race was 10th back in 2007.


Borysko, who is the Utility Supervisor for the Town of Edson, Alberta, says he had some huge help behind the scenes. "My long time mechanic came back on board this year.  Jim (Mears) wrenched for me when I started racing street stock back in the mid 90's.  Back at the shop, having Kevin (Cashmere) and Billy (Bodine) work on the car in between races was a major plus as well."  Borysko is looking forward to this years Championship awards banquet.  "A podium finish in this Series feels pretty good. Can't wait to grab the trophy."  Just across town at Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd., Crystal Kennedy looked back on her successful season.  "We spent a lot of time focusing on car set-up this year and it worked out really well for us. Having a proper set-up in these cars is huge."  Kennedy entered the final race of the season fifth in NPP Series championship points and had a realistic chance at a podium finish.  "Mathematically, I could have finished third in points but back to back DNF's in Lethbridge ended that chance." 


Kennedy broke a wheel spindle on the very first lap of the Saturday night Feature after being pushed into the front straight wall at Bridge County Raceway.  "On Sunday night I lost my steering in the feature and had to pull off.  I still think this was directly related to Saturday nights crash."  Despite the disappointing end, Kennedy is still pleased with her season.  "We challenged for position everytime we were on the track.  We lost a few positions but then turned right around and fought to get them back.  Its too bad the season is over. Sure looking forward to next year."          


LAS VEGAS, NV. (November 3) - As Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competitors gather this Saturday to celebrate the season at the 2011 Championship Awards banquet, one NPP Series driver will be aiming for victory lane south of the border.  Darrell Midgley is set to compete in the annual $10,000 to win Fall Classic Late Model event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

The Sidney, British Columbia driver arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday to take advantage of several on track practice sessions.  "I haven't been behind the wheel of a race car much this year," admits the 2009 NPP Series Champion, "so the extra track time will be a plus."  This is only the fourth time that Midgley has raced on the .375 mile paved oval track in Las Vegas.  Midgley hopes this years race at 'The Bullring' goes better than his 2010 appearance in the #81 Northern Provincial Pipelines/Lucas Oil Dodge.  "Things were going good for us early at last years race.  We qualified 6th fastest.  Then we blew up the motor in one of the final practice sessions before Feature."  All efforts were in vain getting the car to the starting grid. ". But shortly after the green flag dropped we were taken out.  The car was torn up pretty good."   

>THURSDAY, November 3rd
3:30: practice session 1
5:30: practice session 2
7:30: practice session 3
9:15: practice session 4

>FRIDAY, November 4th
11:15pm: practice session 1
1:15pm: practice session 2
3:30pm: practice session 3
4:30pm: Group qualifying (4 cars/3 laps)
6:00pm: Dash (top 16 from qualifying for Friday night Feature)
7:30pm: 2 Heats (top 4 to Friday night Feature)
9:30pm (est.): Friday night Feature

>SATURDAY, November 5th
before Noon: one practice session
5:00pm (estimate): Last Chance race
7:00pm (est.): Fall Classic Feature


DEVON, AB. (November 7)- The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series top three drivers and rookie of the year were honored at the 2011 Season Championship Awards Banquet hosted by Edmonton's Castrol Raceway Saturday night.  About 200 people jammed the Devon Community Center for a night of food and celebration.  "Great way to wrap up our tenth anniversary season," smiles NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "this night was for the drivers and race teams that always put on an incredible show when they're on the track." Castrol Raceway president Rob Reeves and Castrol Raceway oval director Rollie Nash presented the awards to all competitors in the NPP Series.


Trophies were awarded to the top three drivers in the NPP Series Championship points chase.  The 2011 NPP Series Rookie of the Year received a plaque.  Plans for the 2012 season of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series continue.


2011 CHAMPION > #55 Mike Tom; Stony Plain, Alberta
-----------2nd Place > # 3 Kevin Wheeler; Whitecourt, Alberta
-----------3rd Place > #35 Darin Borysko;  Edson, Alberta
Rookie of the Year > #30 Curtis Ellis; Sherwood Park, Alberta


(November 9) - One of Canada's top pavement racers returns to Phoenix International Raceway in grand style this weekend thanks to the support of three Alberta based sponsors.  DJ Kennington will showcase his talents with two race teams in two different racing series on one race day.  "It's going to be a busy few days that's for sure," laughs the St. Thomas, Ontario driver, "I'll basically be jumping out of one car into the other."  On Saturday Kennington will be competing in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series (#80 Dodge) and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (#81 Toyota).  Both cars are sponsored by Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. (Edson, Alberta), Clark Construction (Altario, Alberta) and Whitemud Mechanical (Edmonton, Alberta)

Kennington, who also is receiving support from Mahindra Tractors, wrapped up the 2011 season in the Canadian Tire NASCAR Series with a victory at Ontario's Kawartha Speedway back in September.  This will be just the third time that Kennington has been behind the wheel of a Bill McAnally Racing Toyota.  "We ran the All Star Showdown (California) in February and finished second.  Ran for Bill again a few weeks later (Phoenix) and finished in the top ten.  He has great equipment and I'm really looking forward to racing one of his cars again this weekend."  Another reunion takes place when Kennington gets behind the wheel of a Randy MacDonald Motorsports Dodge.  "We last ran for Randy in 2009," indicates Kennington, "most of our NASCAR experience has been in his race cars."  This will be Kenningtons 48th career NASCAR Nationwide Series start since 2006.  Both the Nationwide Series and K&N Series races at Phoenix International Raceway will be televised.


EDMONTON, AB. (November 16) - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has crowned eight different champions since its first season back in 2001.  Those past and present champs will be glued to their televisions this weekend to find out who wins the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.  "I'm hoping for Tony Stewart," says three-time (2003,04,05) NPP Series Champion Trevor Emond, "he's been coming on strong and doing what he needs to do."  Stewart trails Carl Edwards by just three points with one race to go at Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida.  "Edwards has been pretty consistent at Homestead," adds Emond, "that does have to be taken into consideration."  Emond, who was a spectator at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia last month, admits he does have a little bias in his choice.  "Stewart drives a Chevy.  I don't want a Ford to win!" 


Two-time (2001, 06) NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy thinks Carl Edwards is going to win this years NASCAR championship.  "Carl has a pretty good track record at Homestead which is why I think he will win it.  He had a good record going into Phoenix too and he backed it up with a pretty good finish."  Kennedy was at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend and watched Edwards finish second (Stewart was third).  "When the chase started I was hoping for Kurt Busch but since he has no chance Edwards gets the thumbs up from me." 

Mike Tom grabbed his first NPP Series Championship back in September.  Tom however won't be cheering on Carl Edward's attempt to claim his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.  "I'm not a big Edwards fan," exclaims Tom, "I've always liked Stewart and how he runs.  He also drives a Chevy.  Tony Stewart will win the championship in Florida this weekend."               


Jason Beaulieu, the first NPP Champion (2007) from British Columbia agrees with Mike Tom and also believes that Stewart will be hoisting the big trophy on Sunday afternoon.  "Someone is going to crack under the pressure this weekend and I don't think it will be Tony."  Beaulieu says experience will favor Stewart at the final race of the year.  "He's raced longer than Edwards and has had to deal with more pressure situations.  Thats huge as this point."  Greenflag drops this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida at 1:00pm Edmonton time.               

--------------------------- CHAMPIONS (since 2001)
2011 Mike Tom                                   2011         ???
2010 Bruce Broughton                         2010 Jimmy Johnson
2009 Darrell Midgley                           2009 Jimmy Johnson
2008 Brian McCaughan                       2008 Jimmy Johnson
2007 Jason Beaulieu                            2007 Jimmy Johnson
2006 Dwight Kennedy                         2006 Jimmy Johnson
2005 Trevor Emond                             2005 Tony Stewart
2004 Trevor Emond                             2004 Kurt Busch
2003 Trevor Emond                             2003 Matt Kenseth
2002 Dennis MacEachern                    2002 Tony Stewart
2001 Dwight Kennedy                         2001 Jeff Gordon


EDMONTON, AB. (November 25) - Where are we racing and how many races?  As the long off-season continues, these are two questions that are on the minds of Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series race teams.  "Good news," smiles NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "I have two possible race dates to announce.  The 2012 Gold Cup in Edmonton looks like it will be run on Friday, July 20th and Saturday, July 21st."  The NPP Late Model made its Edmonton debut at the 1999 Gold Cup and has been the support class for the open wheel Sprint Car race ever since.  "These two dates are written in pencil," admits Craig, "track officials say not to expect a complete tentative 2012 Oval schedule until late December early January."  This decision could affect when the annual off-season meeting between NPP Late Model Series drivers and NPP Series management takes place.  "We were hoping to have it (meeting) before Christmas," explains Craig, "Edmonton race dates are always discussed first then we talk about road trips.  Without a full Edmonton schedule to plan around we might have to delay our meeting."  Edmonton's Castrol Raceway has been called the home track of the NPP Late Model Series since 2001.  "Edmonton is on the NPP Series schedule for 2012," says Craig, "however there are several tracks that the Series has not competed at in a few years.  Maybe its time for a return visit."    

UPDATE (December 12): The NPP Late Model Series 'off-season' meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 20th @ 7:30pm.
Where: NPP Series head office in Edson, Alberta.


The Northern Provincial Pipelines
Late Model Series
wishes you and your family a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you in 2012.


EDMONTON, AB. (December 28) - Castrol Raceway has released its tentative schedule for the 2012 Oval season. "There are about a dozen potential race dates which we can choose from," says Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series announcer Gord Craig, "the pencils are being sharpened once again."  NPP Series officials and race teams met December 20th and laid out an extremely tentative 2012 NPP Late Model Series schedule.  "Unfortunately the Edmonton schedule wasn't available for our meeting," adds Craig, "but the dates we picked randomly (for Edmonton) are pretty close to the dates that are on the just-released tentative schedule."  The 2012 Gold Cup, an event that has had sponsorship involvement from Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. since 1997, is scheduled for July 27th and 28th (not July 20th & 21st).  "The NPP Late Model made its debut at the 1999 Gold Cup," adds Craig, "we have been the support class at this event for 13 consecutive seasons."  The Gold Cup, first competed in Edmonton back in 1954, is currently Canada's oldest running open-wheel race event.  "The NPP Series hopes to have its own tentative schedule released in January.  We are waiting for official confirmation from a couple of tracks regarding available race dates."  The NPP Late Model Series is currently in contact with track officials at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington and Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey, Alberta.         

Edmonton, Alberta

- tentative 2012 Oval Schedule (potential NPP Series dates in brackets)

April 28 - Oval Test 'n' Tune
May 5th (NPP Series)
May 12th (NPP Series)
May 26th
June 2nd
June 9th (NPP Series)
July 21st
July 27 & 28 - 2012 Gold Cup  (NPP Series)
August 11
August 18 (NPP Series)
August 24 & 25 - 2012 Oil City Cup
September 8
September 15 (NPP Series)

>Two long weekend races at Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge, Alberta     
>One or two races at Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey, Alberta to precede or follow single race dates in Edmonton.
>Two day race weekend at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma,Washington