Friday practice went well, which was a relief as our guys had some last minute repairs to do to their Mustang during the trip to Texas. The car’s turbo charger had begun showing signs of wear and with such a short turnaround time since their last event in Virginia, the team decided to have a new STS turbo shipped to a shop that was on the way to Texas. Just as planned, the guys at STS shipped one of their turbos to their dealer East Texas Muscle Cars in Longview, Texas. Luckily for our boys, East Texas Muscle Cars owner, Stephen Covington, is an incredibly gracious host with a soft-spot for racers. Without any hesitation, he opened his shop to our North Carolina travelers and made them feel right at home.
“It’s one of the best parts of motorsports,” Doug said. “The people in this sport are amazing.” Stephen let us right into his shop and made sure we had everything we needed to get the job done. He’s got a cool operation there and they build some really fast cars. I can’t thank them enough for all they did for us. Interestingly enough, once we got the new turbo installed, Stephan and I took the car out for a little “test drive” and while the new turbo was perfect, I noticed a problem with the right front brake caliper. Upon further inspection, we found we had some service that needed to be done to the front brakes. Without hesitation, Stephan said to get her back up on the lift and with some just-in-time phone consultation from Mike at Wilwood Brakes, we solved our issue in no time”.
With a comparatively easy day Friday, it was time to relax and have some fun. Not more than a few miles from the track is the North American Headquarters for Enkei Wheels. Marketing Director and friend to grassroots drifting, Alex Nunez, threw out the “Welcome Mat” for all the competitors and their guests. The team really enjoyed themselves, especially getting the back-room tour of the facility getting to check out the thousands of wheels they have in stock at any given time.
On Saturday, after a bit more practice, the cars all lined up for the all-important Qualifying session. Doug held the Mustang back in the line, preferring to let a little more rubber to be put down on the track by the other competitors. His first lap was smooth, controlled, and solid, giving him a spot in the Top-16 competition. On his second lap he laid into it a little bit harder and moved all the way up to 2nd on the grid. “That was a couple of good solid laps.” Doug said as he climbed from his car. “I think we’ll be in good shape for the competition, so I’m pretty happy.”
For DV’s first tandem battle, he would go up against Aaren Smith in his Ford Mustang. Doug led the first lap driving a fairly good line. Unfortunately Aaren had some troubles and spun trying to follow Doug’s speed and had to retire due to trouble with his car, advancing Doug to the next round.
For the Great-8 Doug would meet his friend from Texas, Nate Hamilton in his Chevy V8 powered s13. On lap-1, Doug lead with a smooth, fast line that left the Nissan driver a bit behind as they exited the course. On the second lap, Doug held onto the rear-wing of Hamilton and matched his every move giving VDB the win.
In the Semi-Finals, Doug was again pitted up against Nick DAlessio who has made great strides since their last meeting at Summit Point early this year. On his lead lap, Doug put down a great lap with a lot of speed and tons of angle leaving Nick a thick Falken Tire cloud to navigate through. On lap-2, Nick ran a really nice line but was unable to pull away from the Mustang giving Doug the clear advantage and the win.
In the Finals, Doug went up against Chelsea Denofa in his very fast BMW 3-series. With Chelsea leading the first lap, he left the starting-line hard leaving VDB behind a bit as the Mustang struggled for grip. By mid-lap the BMW had a 2-car length lead over Van Den Brink and the gap remained constant all the way to the finish. On lap-2, Doug poured on the power as the two drivers entered the first half of the track, by mid-lap Doug had about a two car length lead going into the final corner. Knowing he had to close the gap, Denofa took a shallower line and was able to close in a bit on the Mustang. In the end, with the BMW leaving the final lap closer than Doug had followed on the first, the advantage and win went to the BMW.
“Is it bad to be disappointed with 2nd place?” Van Den Brink joked after climbing from his car. “I mean, 2nd is so-much better than 3rd but I’m frustrated that we didn’t win although I fully realize you can’t win them all. We worked really hard dialing the chassis out of grip this weekend so I could run with the slower cars and not get bogged-down. I just made the mistake of not putting that grip back into the car for the Finals and it really cost us today.”
In the end it was another very successful weekend for the whole D’Vanz Motorsports team. The crew did an amazing job and the car ran like a Swiss watch all weekend long. “I need to send out some special thanks before we go.” Van Den Brink added as the team packed up for their long drive back to North Carolina. “First I need to thank Rick at Squires Turbo Systems for getting a new turbo sent out to us in time for the event. The old one probably would have made it through the event fine, but it was great how Rick made sure we had everything we needed. It’s great having companies like STS backing you up. Secondly, all the guys over on Nate Hamilton’s team who helped us get ready for the final round. Those guys ran over to us without hesitation and their level of sportsmanship is second to none. Lastly, we ended our season on a really good note and my guys all did an amazing job this weekend. They made this weekend fun and I can’t thank them enough.”
With the 2011 season in the books, look for a season recap as Doug and the boys recount the smoke and noise that was the DVM Drift Season 2011….
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Urban Racer: http://www.urbanracer.com/articles/anmviewer.asp?a=4979&z=1