Northern lightning Sprint Association- NLSA
Amber Balcaen Bests Field at Red River Co-op Speedway
By Greg Cybulski / ShotByKaylie.com photo
WINNIPEG, MB (August 1, 2009) A strong performance by Amber Balcaen earned the pilot of the Imrie Demolition #10 Lightning Sprint her
first Northern Lightning Sprint Association victory of the 2009 racing
season at Red River Co-op Speedway on Thursday night.
Roland Bernard Wins Chad Olson Memorial
Roland Bernard being presented the Chad
Olson Memorial traveling cup by Chad's brother Cory.
By Gerald Bernard
Understanding The Difference
By Darren Pallen, NLSA President
From its inception in the fourth quarter of 2008, the primary goal of the Northern Lightning Sprint Association was to be different. A different attitude. A different rule book. A different way to deal with cheaters. Different, because dirt track racing needs different more than ever.
Unbeknownst to his fellow attendees at the inaugural Northern Lightning Sprint Member meeting, Tyson Hiebert was preparing to be different. So different, in fact, that he would prove to exceed the expectations of NLSA members and the racing community alike.
When the number 64 Lightning Sprint takes to the track this summer, be sure to take notice of its front wing. While the average racer spends a great deal of effort negotiating sponsorship deals, Hiebert has chosen to provide this valuable advertising space to Cancer Care of Manitoba absolutely free of charge.
But the benefits donít stop there for Cancer Care of Manitoba. In an environment where many racers spend an unhealthy portion of their time complaining about payouts, Hiebert has decided to forgo his completely. In fact, every shiny dime that Hiebert earns on the race track this summer will be donated directly to Cancer Care of Manitoba. Hiebert humbly notes "that none of this could take place without the fantastic support of my brother Patrick Hiebert, wife Kim and daughters Carmen and Kylie."
As Tyson Hiebert picks up the throttle in his new Lightning Sprint for the first time, his thoughts will be on his father Harold, who lost his courageous battle with cancer in the summer of 2008 at the age of 64.
Harold Hiebert was a great race fan and can certainly be credited for Tysonís keen interest in the sport of auto racing. There is no doubt that Harold will be looking down on Red River Co‐op Speedway as a very different group of open wheel racers take to the track in 2009.
That group will be led by his son, a driver that has already proven he understands the difference.
AnOpen Letter to Upright "Mini Sprint" Promoters and Drivers
Written by: Darren Pallen (President: Northern Lightning Sprint Association, Winnipeg, Canada)
Pleaseallow me to introduce myself. My name is Darren Pallen. I have been involved in the sport of auto racing for over 20 years. In the early 1990s, I raced Mini‐Sprints (a 750 c.c. Bishop Racing Components car) before moving on to full‐size Sprint Cars for three seasons. Since retiring from racing in 1997, I have spent the last eleven years performing motorsports announcing duties including events like Monster Jam, the IHRA, and several local stock car and motocross tracks.
WhenI made the decision to return to driving a race car early in 2008, I quickly realized that building a full‐size Sprint Car program would not be an option due to soaring costs. I then looked at several different stock car divisions, and the results were exactly the same. Most surprising, however, was what I found with the Mini‐Sprint class. It is this discovery that prompted me to write this commentary.
Followingseveral months of research, I concluded that very little has changed in the Mini‐Sprint world in terms of the way these cars are being marketed throughout North America. Further, I discovered that Mini‐Sprint rules (especially engine rules) have not yet fallen in line with what these cars were originally intended to be (affordable). In summary, I found that many of the same things that were hurting the growth of Mini‐Sprint racing back in the 1990s are still prevalent today.
Letísbegin with marketing. In short, the term "Mini‐Sprint" is a very poor representation of a modern day upright, midget‐based, motorcycle engine powered Sprint Car. Without a doubt, these are full‐blown, legitimate race cars. In the exact words of Pat Mooney, a broadcasting friend of mine here in Canada, there is nothing "mini" about these cars. They are built to the same specifications as a full‐size Sprint Car, and in my opinion carry engines that are far more technically advanced than anything else found at a dirt track. In fact, they may be the most technically advanced production engines on the planet. Yet, we continue to call these cars "Mini‐Sprints". If you were a sports fan, would you be eager to go watch a "Mini‐Football" game? A "Mini‐Baseball" game? Or how about a "Mini‐Hockey" game? Likely not.
Iask that all upright 750 c.c./1000 c.c. "Mini‐Sprint" organizations consider removing all evidence of the word "Mini‐Sprint" in your advertising and other correspondence and replace it with the more professional term "Lightning Sprint". I believe this will help our organizations gain better credibility with fans and promoters and help to achieve better payouts through a more professional image. Today, success is achieved through a sound marketing program, no matter what your business may be. The term "Lightning Sprint" is much more marketable than "Mini‐Sprint". The use of "Lightning Sprint" will also help distinguish our upright cars from that of the smaller cars in the Micro‐Sprint division. In my estimation, it is quite easy for the casual fan to mix up "Mini" and "Micro". Changing to the term "Lightning Sprints" will help eliminate this confusion.
Inall forms of racing, creating a "universal" rule book has always been a huge challenge. There is no doubt that a "universal" North American Lightning Sprint rule book would be great for everyone, but it
wouldcertainly not be easy to execute. However, imagine for a moment the opportunity to be able to travel amongst all upright Lightning Sprint organizations, knowing that you have the same equipment as everyone else. The benefits are simply endless.
Myidea of a sustainable rules package for Lightning Sprint racing is based around the use of completely stock motorcycle engines burning pump gasoline only (the same way they left the factory). Back in the 1990s, I was disappointed to find many Mini‐Sprint organizations that promoted unreasonably expensive engine rules. This problem has not changed with many organizations to this day. Why do we need highly‐modified, expensive motorcycle engines in these cars? If Joe Racer wants to spend that kind of money building an engine that is far less reliable than when it left the factory, then my thought is that Joe Racer might want to consider racing full‐size Sprint Cars.
Theopportunity to "re‐brand" and "re‐market" Lightning Sprint racing has never been better than it is right now. Rising costs in stock car racing (Street Stocks, Super Stocks, Modifieds, etc.) are making it tough, if not impossible for these drivers to continue. If we collectively market and create truly affordable rules packages for Lightning Sprints in the correct fashion, we can attract many drivers from these other classes, as well as provide an affordable racing opportunity for younger drivers who wish to graduate from their starter classes. Collectively, letís see what we can do to make this sport more attainable for everyone. Our ultimate success or failure, in my opinion, will be directly linked to our rule books.
Whenwe created the Northern Lightning Sprint Association www.nlsprints.com, our goal was to make certain this class ended up in the position that it was originally intended to be: fun, fast and affordable. Using a democratic voting process and the long‐term vision of many excited new drivers, we created a rule book that will serve to keep this sport growing in Canada for many years to come. It is important to note that the NLSA has only been in existence since October of 2008. And although we have yet to turn a wheel as an organization, I am proud to announce that the NLSA already has 14 cars ready to race in 2009. My guess is that we will have several more very soon.
Yourcomments and observations are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Red River Co-op Speedway Announces New Racing Division For '09
February 19, 2009 (Winnipeg, MB) Red River Coop Speedway is proud to announce the creation of a radical new racing division for the 2009 season.
The all-new open wheel "Lightning Sprints" will compete at a minimum of nine (9) race events in 2009, beginning with the Enduro Challenge Series Season Opener on April 25, 2009.
Featuring distinctive aerodynamic "wings" to provide downforce, weighing just 730 pounds, and powered by extremely reliable 130 horsepower 750 c.c. motorcycle engines, Lightning Sprints provide fast and exciting wheel-to-wheel racing action at speeds rivaling the fastest full-bodied stock cars. Lightning Sprints compete on both paved and dirt ovals around the world with the heaviest concentration in the United States.
For more information about this exciting new racing division, please contact Darren Pallen at (204) 228-4251. You may also log on to www.nlsprints.com
About Red River Coop Speedway
Red River Coop Speedway is Canadaís fastest 4/10 mile
dirt oval race track. The track has operated for over thirty years at its
present location five miles south of St. Norbert on Highway 75. Red River
Coop Speedway features full concessions, is licensed, and has seating
accommodations for up to 4,000 people. Red River Coop Speedway is regarded
as one of the top dirt track racing facilities in Canada. More information
on Red River Coop Speedway can be found by visiting
The Northern Lightning Sprint Association Inaugural Meeting
October 31, 2008
(Winnipeg, Manitoba) The Northern Lightning Sprint Association held its inaugural meeting on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at Formula Suzuki in the Waverley Automall. The event began at 7:00 P.M. sharp and concluded at 9:00 P.M. Central Standard Time. Prospective members and racers alike made great progress in shaping the vision for the future of the NLSA.
"Although we originally expected about 15 to 20 people at this first meeting, the actual attendance was an unbelievable 53 people", said Darren Pallen, who chaired the event. "This solidifies our belief that there exists a huge need for truly affordable open wheel racing in this area. You just canít find a race car that burns a couple of gallons of pump gas per night and requires only a couple hours of maintenance to keep race‐ready. The Lightning Sprints are the start of a new and exciting direction for auto racing in this area. They are lightning fast, fun, and affordable"
Notable meeting attendees included Fred Taylor (new proprietor of Red River Co‐op Speedway), and Al Hildebrand, owner of the new yet unnamed race track in Morden, Manitoba. Both race track owners clearly voiced their support of the Northern Lightning Sprint Association and looked forward to having this new organization competing at their race tracks in 2009.
Although the rule book will not be officially released until mid-November, NLSA meeting participants discussed several ideas for the consideration of the yet‐to‐be‐formed Rules Committee. These ideas included, among others, the use of Red River Co‐op 91 octane pump gas only. All fueling would be controlled by track officials who would be responsible for the filling of each competitorís empty tank before every race. Other rule highlights included a spec tire on either the Right Rear only or on all four corners (SP2 Hoosier), completely stock four‐stroke 750 c.c. or 1000 c.c. motorcycle engines (Power Commander or Bazzaz type devices permitted), and an unconventional yet creative method for dealing with competitors who choose to ignore NLSA rules.
The Northern Lightning Sprint Association thanks Debra Borton of Formula Suzuki for providing their spacious and comfortable facility for the meeting.
For more information on the Northern Lightning Sprint Association, log on towww.nlsprints.com
Photos by Tim Johnson - email@example.com
Thereís a brand new podcast covering the inaugural Northern Lightning Sprint Association meeting at www.prairiedirtdigest.com
LIGHTNING SPRINTS COMING IN '09
Red River Co-op Speedway plans to introduce a new class in
the 2009 racing season. The Lightning Sprints will be on the schedule next
year and they are already creating a buzz in the pits. RRCS Track Announcer,
Darren Pallen had his new Lightning Sprint out at the track on Saturday, and
he impressed a lot of people with his cars speed on the track. I am already
looking forward to next season!!! (Photo by Tim Johnson)
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