(January 10) - The official website of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series is undergoing some cosmetic changes during the off-season.  NPP Series announcer Gord Craig says all 'tweaks' should be completed before test 'n' tune day the end of April. "It was just your basic website at first," exclaims Craig, "[it was a] here is the race date and here are the race results format. However that's not the case anymore."

2007 HOME PAGE DESIGN ----------------------------- 2009 HOME PAGE DESIGN

The NPP Series website has grown from just 6 pages in 2007 to over 130 pages of content.  "We are responding to feedback from race fans and race teams that check out our website on a daily basis."  Users that browse the internet using mobile phones will have an easier time navigating the NPP website in just a few weeks.  "Mobile phone users told us they were having difficulty navigating some of our pages. The main problem was the scrolling of content.  This was especially true on our NPP news page.  Sometimes our mobile phone users could access an entire racing news story," explains Craig, "sometimes they couldn't.  The scrolling issue is going to be addressed so that there shouldn't be any more problems."  Craig notes that visitors who have logged on to the NPP Series website from their home or office computer have already noticed some significant changes.  "If you have a widescreen monitor, several pages of the website have migrated to the center of the screen instead of being off to the left.  Its going to take some time but eventually all website pages will be centered."  Visitors that use smaller monitors won't be affected by this change.  Race fans and race teams will also see changes to how NPP Late Model Series highlights are viewed.  "Three seasons ago we introduced video highlights to the website.  These highlights were always part of the NPP news section.  Now a dedicated NPP video highlights page is being created."  The NPP Late Model Series website was launched in May of 2007.  It is expected that in the evening hours of January 16th, the NPP Late Model Series website will record its 150,000th visit.


LETHBRIDGE, AB (January 12) - Bridge County Raceway president James Hadnagy has officially put an end to off-season reports that his facility would be running a limited oval schedule in 2012.  "Yes, we were contacted to open the track for some specials events this year but our decision to close [the track] remains firm.  There will be no motorsport events scheduled at Bridge County Raceway in 2012 under current ownership."  The track just east of Lethbridge, Alberta shut its doors the end of September after 20 seasons of operation. 


Almost immediately after the closure announcement was made, Dwight Kennedy, the owner of Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd., spearheaded a behind the scenes campaign to have the facility re-opened for at least four race dates in 2012.  "It was tough saying no to Dwight," sighs Hadnagy, "he has done so much for racing in this province.  He has been such a huge supporter of racing here in Lethbridge as well.  Kathy and I are extremely disappointed that we had to turn down the offer from NPP for the two long-weekend races this year."  Hadnagy says when the doors closed last September that was it.  "We are burned out.  It's time to hand the keys over to a new operator."  Hadnagy was candid if he has entertained any offers on the Southern Alberta track.  "The upkeep of the facility will continue for the new owners whoever they may be.  No one wants to buy a rundown race track."  The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series made its debut at Bridge County Raceway in 2006.  Edson, Alberta's Dwight Kennedy won the inaugural Feature event.


(January 20) - The first opportunity for Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competitors to shake off the winter cobwebs is less than 100 days away.  "The race season is quickly sneaking up on us," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "Saturday, April 28th, is open test 'n' tune day at Castrol Raceway."  Right now, the open test 'n' tune is one of only a handfull of finalized dates at the Edmonton track for 2012.  "We're racing in Edmonton on July 20th and 21st [at the 2012 Gold Cup].  Several other dates for Edmonton are still tentative.  Hopefully in the next few weeks the full season schedule will be finalized including road trips." The 2012 season opener for the NPP Late Model Series is tentatively set for Edmonton's Castrol Raceway on Saturday, May 5th or 12th.  With the closure of Bridge County Raceway in September, planning of the 2012 NPP season schedule has been a challenge. "Since the inaugural season back in 2001, scheduling two-day shows on long weekends has been the norm for the NPP Series.  Since Edmonton stopped holding long weekend oval events several years ago, Lethbridge was our go-to track.  With Lethbridge closing, we are presently looking for another go-to track for long holiday weekends."  The NPP Late Model Series is currently in contact with race officials from five other tracks.

April 28  - Oval Test 'n' Tune

May 5th - Edmonton (tentative)
May 12th - Edmonton (tentative)
June 9th - Edmonton (tentative)

July 20 & 21 - Edmonton [2012 Gold Cup]
August 18 - Edmonton (tentative)
September 15 - Edmonton (tentative)

June/July - Rimbey  
June/July - Saskatchewan (x2 tracks)
June/July or August - Elma, Washington
June/July - Taylor, British Columbia


(February 2) - Six more weeks of winter says Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil, Winnipeg Willow in Manitoba and Balzac Billy here in Alberta. On this Groundhog Day 2012, even the official pace car of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series cast a long shadow at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.  NPP Series announcer Gord Craig was at the race track Thursday morning.  "If the groundhogs [and the pace car] are correct, all the snow will be gone in less than three months and the track should be ready for the first scheduled event of the 2012 season."  Test 'n' tune is scheduled at the Edmonton track for Saturday, April 28th.  "Weather and track conditions permitting we will be on the track in just twelve weeks time."  This is one of the earliest scheduled test 'n' tune days in the history of the NPP Series.


"Work continues on the race schedule," adds Craig, "hoping to confirm some of our out of town dates in the next week or so."  Edmonton's Castrol Raceway and Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey, are two tracks that will see the NPP Late Model Series in 2012.  Craig says a return to the United States still remain in the plans.  "We've talked with officials at Grays Harbor Raceway in Washington and they are open to having us come down and race this season."  The tentative 2012 season opening race for Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series teams is Saturday, May 5th in Edmonton.

-2012 Oval schedule (tentative)
April 28  - Oval Test 'n' Tune
May 5th - Edmonton (tentative)
May 12th - Edmonton (tentative)
June 9th - Edmonton (tentative)
June date - Rimbey (tentative)
July 20 & 21 - Edmonton [2012 Gold Cup]
August 18 - Edmonton (tentative)
September 15 - Edmonton (tentative)

June/July - Saskatchewan (x2 tracks)
June/July or August - Elma, Washington
June/July - Taylor, British Columbia


EDMONTON, AB (February 13) - Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series race teams hope this is a sign of better times ahead at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.  The Stock Car class, which was cancelled by Castrol Raceway officials due to a dwindling car count, is poised to return after a two-year hiatus.  An energetic group of competitors gathered at a West Edmonton sports bar Sunday afternoon to discuss the olive branch being offered by the track.  Former Stock Car racer Kary Rogers was one of two NPP Late Model Series competitors at Sunday's meeting offering up support.  "I have a buddy that wants to get involved in racing," says Rogers, "I am here to support my friend and for a class that hasn't raced at Castrol [Raceway] in two years."  Rogers spent many seasons behind the wheel of a Stock Car in Edmonton finishing as high as second in points in 2002.  "I got started in the Stock Car class.  Many people get their first taste of racing in this class."  


Curtis Ellis, the 2011 NPP Late Model Series Rookie of the Year agrees with his fellow competitor.  "I want to see this class grow.  The return of this class will benefit the NPP Series in the long run.  It's a great place to start out and it doesn't have to be a full-out race car which has the added expense that goes with it."  The last time the Stock Car class competed at Castrol Raceway was September 19th, 2009.  Just four cars showed up.  Back in the 1990's the Stock Car class was consistently Castrol Raceways (then called Capital Raceway) largest class with over 20 cars taking the green flag every Feature event. 


"I think we can see this number of cars again real soon," says 1997 and 1999 Edmonton Stock Car champion Doug Worsfold, who organized and chaired the meeting,  "I'm very happy with the turnout today.  We got a confirmation from 15 drivers to race in Edmonton."  Worsfold adds the numbers will be higher.  "Several people who couldn't come to today's meeting contacted me already to say that they are racing this season as well."  For the first time since 2009, both NPP Late Models and Stock Cars will be seen in the Castrol Raceway pits at the 2012 Test 'n' Tune on Saturday, April 28th.        


PHOENIX, AZ. (March 1) - The Canadian flag will be waving in Arizona this weekend.  DJ Kennington is competing in the NASCAR K&N Series West 2012 season opener at Phoenix International Raceway.  "Sure looking forward to this Saturday," exclaims the St. Thomas, Ontario driver, "first race of the year for me and my team."  Ironically the last race for Kennington and his team was the K&N Series season wrap-up which was also at Phoenix International Raceway.  "I like coming here.  We have done well here in the past."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------((Photo: Bill McAnally Racing)

Kennington finished 11th at the K&N Series fall race in Phoenix.  "We had a top ten finish at the season opener last year."  A trio of Alberta based sponsors will be on the Bill McAnally Racing #81 car that Kennington will pilot this weekend.  Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. (Edson), Whitemud Mechanical (Edmonton) and Clark Construction (Altario) were Kennington's primary sponsors in Phoenix in 2011.  "They were huge supporters of the team last year so I'm very happy that they are back with us this year."  The first lap of Kennington's busy 2012 race season takes place Friday morning when he hits the one-mile Phoenix oval track for a practice session. Kenningtons first race in Canada is the season opener of the Canadian Tire NASCAR Series in May.

Friday, March 2nd: 15th fastest in practice
Saturday, March 3rd: Qualified 16th
Saturday, March 3rd: FINISHED 10th


RIMBEY, AB. (March 8) - Central Alberta Raceway's is quietly becoming the major hub of motorsport activity in Western Canada.  Dale Barr, former mayor of Rimbey, Alberta and current business owner in the town of 2,500, has been part of the track organizing committee since day one.  "It has certainly been an incredible experience watching this facility grow to where it is today."  Back in the early 1980's the Rimbey Rodeo Grounds held the first annual Kinsmen Demolition Derby.  Due to a growing spectator and competitor count, organizers soon realized they would eventually need a bigger location to host this annual event.  "An inquiry was made by the Rimbey Kinsmen Club regarding an unused parcel of land just east of Rimbey.  Another group stepped forward with the idea of possibly developing a motorsport facility."  Since then a unique partnership was formed.  In September of 2002 the first Rimbey Kinsmen Club Demolition Derby was held on the newly acquired and barren field.  Actual construction of the race facility began in mid-2003. 


"Since the beginning there has been a nucleus of eight people involved in finance, promotion, design and construction of the facility." Barr says squeezing a multi-purpose race facility into 80 acres of land was a little bit stressful and at times comical.  "I admit we did have a go big or go home approach at first.  We wanted everything.  Our original plan was to have both a paved and dirt oval along with the drag strip, the mud bog area and the motocross track."  The plan for a paved oval was eventually dropped.  "It would have been nice to have all the tracks from our original plans," smiles Barr, "but you still need a place to park everybody [competitors and spectators]."  On July 30th, 2005, with perfect weather and packed grandstands, Central Alberta Raceway hosted their first ever Oval event featuring the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series.  The first major Mud Bog event, featuring the Canadian Mud Racers Organization took place in 2007.  The annual Kinsmen Club Demolition derby continues every September.  The motocross track, which is for members only, is being re-designed this spring. 


Barr says Central Alberta Raceways has been in a rather unique position since day one.  "We have had several paid sponsors in place before the shovels were even in the ground. Most of the sponsors we have today came on board before the facility plans were even finalized.  They understand what we are trying to do here."  Central Alberta Raceway's is well on the way to premium motorsport park status. "Our facility has always operated a little different than other tracks," exclaims Barr,  "we make it affordable for families to come to the races.  Participants that compete here are also respected."  Central Alberta Raceways is also a not-for-profit race track meaning money raised by the Rimbey Kinsmen Club and the track goes back into the community or towards facility improvement. 

LONKAR - Red Deer, AB (Oval track)
CLASSIC EMBROIDERY - Winfield, AB (Demo Derby Arena)

Almost a decade after the first Kinsmen Demolition Derby was held in the grassy field, Barr says the final and biggest phase of Central Alberta Raceway's is nearing completion.  "Yes we've had a couple of false starts as far as announcing when the completion of the drag strip would take place.  What I will say right now is the construction issues we had the last few years [drag strip base/drainage] are now behind us."  Although Barr was a little hesitant to discuss an actual opening date, according to the Central Alberta Raceways website, Canada's newest 1/4 mile drag strip could be open in July.  "This is going to be an exciting year."  Central Alberta Raceways is located about an hour and a half south-west of Edmonton  and two hours north-west of Calgary.  The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has tentatively scheduled three Oval race dates at Central Alberta Raceways in 2012.  The NPP Series will also be involved in the official opening of Canada's newest 1/4 mile drag strip expected this summer.


EDSON, AB. (March 24) - At just over 137,000 kilometers on the odometer, the original pace car of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has been retired.  "It was an incredible promotional tool both on and off the race track," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "not only was this car a daily driver it was the work horse of the Series that's for sure."  The bright red Charger made its official 'on-track' debut at Lethbridge, Alberta's  Bridge County Raceway in May of 2008.


Although the NPP Series Pace Car spent much of its time on Alberta highways, several road trips took it through British Columbia into the State of Washington.  One road trip took the NPP Series Pace Car to the California Redwoods.  "It sure stood out," admits Craig, "a great billboard for the NPP Series and racing in general." 


Despite the name on the side of the car, the pace car wasn't used exclusively for NPP Series race events. "Two years in a row the World Of Outlaws Sprint Car Series used our pace car when they visited Edmonton.  That was pretty cool to see."  The NPP Series Pace Car also spent some time on a frozen lake west of Edmonton at a Northern Alberta Sports Car Club ice race event.  Leading race cars on the track was only part of the duties for the NPP Series Official Pace Car.  

"We were in the Capital X Parade in downtown Edmonton twice," says Craig, "more than 750,00 people lined the streets of downtown Edmonton.  You can't beat this kind of exposure."  The NPP Series Pace Car was involved in several car shows as well. 




EDMONTON, AB. (April 3) - It will be at least another season before the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series competes south of the border.  "We were aiming for a two-day show at Grays Harbor Raceway," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "unfortunately the dates we had weren't meshing well so the plan [to race at GHR] has been dropped for this year."  The decision not to race in the United States in 2012 leaves a fairly big gap in the middle of the schedule. "In the past, planning a race schedule was fairly straight forward. This year it has been a huge challenge." The closure of Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge at the end of last season and Rocky Mountain Raceway Park in 2009 has only added to the challenge. "These two tracks always scheduled race dates on long weekends. It was a perfect fit for us." Craig admits that there is some frustration from drivers in regards to a lack of a confirmed season schedule. "I get phone calls and e-mails every day asking when the schedule will be completed." Despite the delay Craig says there are eight confirmed race dates. "Barring any last minute hiccups, six dates are confirmed for Edmonton and two for Rimbey." Craig adds that he'd still like to see a few more out of town dates on the schedule.  "We tried to get a long weekend race at Speedy Creek in Swift Current, Saskatchewan but like Edmonton, they did not have any long weekend dates scheduled this year."  The NPP Late Model Series however continue talks with two tracks in British Columbia.  "We have been in contact with officials at both Merritt Speedway and Taylor Speedway regarding a possible August and/or September long weekend event."  This would be a first-time visit for the NPP Late Model Series to British Columbia if either long weekend race dates in August and September are secured.

2012 NPP SERIES SCHEDULE (tentative dates)
April 28th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
May 5th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
May 12th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
June 8th - Central Alberta Raceways; Rimbey
June 9th -  Central Alberta Raceways; Rimbey
June 30th/July1st - Open long weekend
July 20th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
July 21st - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
August 4th/5th - British Columbia??
August 18th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
August 25th - Central Alberta Raceways; Rimbey (note: World of Outlaws race in Edmonton**)
September 1st/2nd - Open long weekend
September 15th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton

**C.A.R. officials may change the August 25th date


EDMONTON, AB. (April 25) - The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has finalized its race schedule for the 2012 season.  NPP Late Model Series announcer Gord Craig made the announcement today.  "We are pleased to announce that the NPP Late Model Series will be competing at four tracks in 2012.  Along with eight scheduled events at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton and Rimbey's Central Alberta Raceways, two new tracks will host a NPP Series race weekend for the very first time."  The August long weekend (August 4th & 5th) will see the NPP Late Model Series visit Merritt Speedway in Merritt, British Columbia.  The NPP Late Model Series will wrap up its 2012 season at Flatlanders Speedway in Kindersley, Saskatchewan on the September long weekend (September 1st & 2nd).  "We are still finalizing the details for the two day shows at both Merritt and Kindersley," adds Craig, "what we know right now is that they are going to be two big events for these club run facilities."  Craig says today's schedule announcement is a huge relief for Series officials.  "Planning the 2012 race schedule was extremely difficult with the closure of Bridge County Raceway in Lethbridge last September.  It's been pretty tough to find race tracks that schedule events on long weekends."  Craig says this year's schedule is a history maker for the Series.  "This is the first time that the NPP Series has scheduled race events in three provinces in a single season.  It is also the first time that a season champion will be crowned outside of the Province of Alberta."  The NPP Late Model Series hits the race track for the first time this Saturday, April 28th for an open test 'n' tune session at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway.  The 2012 NPP Late Model Series season opener is set for Saturday, May 5th also in Edmonton.

April 28th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton, Alberta (test 'n' tune)
May 5th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton, Alberta
May 12th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton, Alberta
June 8th - Central Alberta Raceways; Rimbey, Alberta
June 9th -  Central Alberta Raceways; Rimbey, Alberta
July 20th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton, Alberta
July 21st - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton, Alberta
August 4th - Merritt, Speedway; Merritt British Columbia
August 5th
- Merritt, Speedway; Merritt British Columbia
August 18th - Castrol Raceway; Edmonton
September 1st - Flatlanders Speedway; Kindersley, Saskatchewan
September 2nd - Flatlanders Speedway; Kindersley, Saskatchewan


EDMONTON, AB. (April 27) - Track officials in Edmonton have informed the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series that the open test 'n' tune scheduled for Saturday, April 28th has been cancelled due to inclement weather.  "We got the word Friday morning that the track is pulling the plug," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "remnants of the fresh snow was on the ground into the afternoon."  

TURN 1 & 2 (photo taken at 11:32am Fri.Apr. 27th)

TURN 3 & 4 (11:34am Fri.Apr. 27th)

The Edmonton region experienced one of the driest winters in fifty years, however Environment Canada says the month of April looks like it could be one of the wettest in over a decade.  "It's good news for farmers," admits Craig, "but this moisture is already playing havoc with the race season.  The track looked real good on Thursday.  If we didn't get the rain [last night] and the snow this morning, cars would have been on the track this weekend [Saturday]."


This is the fourth time in the last five years that a scheduled test 'n' tune event at Castrol Raceway has been lost due to inclement weather.  Castrol Raceway officials have already said that the open test 'n' tune will not be rescheduled.  "We really needed this test 'n' tune day," says Craig, "several new drivers in our Series were hoping to get on the track before the season started."  This will still happen according to Craig.  NPP Series officials have announced that they are pushing back the 2012 season opener to Saturday, May 12th.  "Saturday, May 5th remains the 2012 season opener for the Edmonton track. This will be a non-points event for NPP Series competitors. Moving our season opener to May 12th means that new drivers in our Series will be able to get in some track time under less stressful conditions."   

2012 NPP SERIES SCHEDULE (revised as of April 27th)
April 28th - Edmonton (test 'n' tune)
May 5th - Edmonton (NPP test 'n' tune / Castrol Raceway season opener)
May 12th - Edmonton (NPP Series season opener)
June 8th - Rimbey
June 9th -  Rimbey
July 20th - Edmonton
July 21st - Edmonton
August 4th - Merritt, British Columbia
August 5th - Merritt, British Columbia
August 18th - Edmonton
September 1st - Kindersley, Saskatchewan
September 2nd - Kindersley, Saskatachewan


EDMONTON, AB. (April 30) - The brand new Official Pace Car of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series will be on display at the 2012 Castrol Raceway season opener this Saturday night.  "The NPP Late Model Series has basically called Castrol Raceway its home track since 2001," says NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, "so it's only appropriate that race fans in Edmonton get the first opportunity to see the new Dodge Charger Pace Car up close."  The 2012 Dodge Charger is scheduled to have its pace car decal package installed this Thursday at Cowan Graphics. 


"I thought our last pace car stood out," say Craig, "without revealing too much,  the look of our brand new pace car will be pretty amazing."  Craig will be special guest announcer at Castrol Raceway this Saturday night.  "Several NPP Series race teams will be testing their cars in Edmonton this weekend while all the other oval classes kick off their 2012 seasons."  The 2012 season opener of the NPP Late Model Series is Saturday May 12th in Edmonton.