SANGUDO, AB – The first ever Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series two-day race weekend at scenic Sangudo Speedway was a wet one. NPP Series teams endured two separate rain delays totaling more than three-hours Saturday and faced a complete rainout on Sunday. “Going into the race weekend we knew we were going to be fighting the weather,” admits NPP Series announcer Gord Craig, “but losing most of the race weekend to rain is still a punch to the stomach.” The start of Saturdays race event was delayed close to two and a half hours due to rain. “It turned into a pretty nice Saturday afternoon once the rain stopped. The sun came out and was so intense the water truck had to make several passes to keep the dust down.” When the green flag finally waved, Stony Plain, Alberta’s Bruce Broughton won the first Qualifying Heat. This was Broughton’s 44th all-time Heat race victory in NPP Series competition. Whitecourt, Alberta’s Wayne Wheeler captured Qualifying Heat race #2.
After finishing fourth in his Heat, defending NPP Season Champion Kevin Wheeler failed to qualify for the ‘A’ Dash. The Whitecourt, Alberta driver was the point leader heading into the Sangudo race weekend. Wheeler would hand over the point lead to two-time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy. The Edson, Alberta driver won the ‘A’ Dash to capture the pole position for the Saturday Feature.
Saturday’s abbreviated race day saw just one major incident. Edson, Alberta’s Crystal Kennedy got into the side of a spinning Jay Carr in the ‘B’ Dash. Both cars would suffer significant damage and would not be able to continue. Kevin Wheeler won the ‘B’ Dash.
“We had some great racing Saturday afternoon,” says Craig, “we were lined up ready for our Feature when some rain showers moved back into the region. After about an hour rain delay, track officials cancelled the rest of the race.” Day 2 of the Sangudo Speedway race weekend looked even less promising weather wise for drivers and race fans. Rain began falling shortly after the race cars were unloaded Sunday morning. About an hour after rain began, Sangudo Speedway officials threw in the towel and declared a complete rainout.
NPP SERIES – THE INSIDE TRACK:
– two-time NPP Series Champion Dwight Kennedy leads the points chase for the first time since September of 2008.
– just 11 points separates the top 5 drivers in the 2014 NPP Series Championship points chase.
– with no Feature events run in Sangudo due to the weekend rainouts, Kevin Wheeler still has a chance to set an all-time NPP Series winning streak record on the first night of the Gold Cup in Edmonton (July 18th). Wheeler has won five consecutive NPP Series Features dating back to last season. No NPP driver has ever won six.
– both Dean Deatherage and Marc Hobe’ suffered engine failure Saturday afternoon at Sangudo Speedway.
– Ken Clark suffered transmission failure at the end of the ‘B’ Dash.
– Saturday and Sunday’s rainouts were the first for Sangudo Speedway since the 2012 season.
Next NPP Late Model Series race event is another two-day show. Friday and Saturday, July 18th and 19th, is Canada’s oldest, most prestigious open wheel event. The Gold Cup, first run in Edmonton back in 1954, celebrates its 60th anniversary at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway this year. The NPP Late Model has been the support class at the Gold Cup race event since 1999.