Doug Van Den Brink Loves Texas-
Last weekend Doug and his D’Vanz Motorsports crew made the long trek out to Ft. Worth, Texas to compete in Round-5 of the Extreme Drift Circuit at Texas Motor Speedway. After a tough-time up in New Jersey at Round-4, the boys from North Carolina where determined to rebound in style.
A little known fact is that years ago, Van Den Brink was nearly a resident of Dallas, TX had it not been for a last minute snag in a contract negotiation with a Texas based Stock-car team. “Yes, it’s true, I was only a signature away from moving here,” Doug said. “I’ve always liked Texas and I seem to always have fun here. The people are so great; I just dig the whole vibe down here.” DV went on to say.
While the field of drivers was small by XDC standards, the quality was high as drivers from all over North America were in attendance. With the help of local drifters like Aaron Losey, the track layout chosen was open, fast and very safe. Guardrails were far enough away from the track, that the drivers didn’t have to play it conservatively at all and really let their cars fly. The Friday practice was dry in the morning session but then wet in the afternoon as a large rain storm settled in. “We got some good baseline runs in this morning, then in the afternoon the rainy, wet conditions really helped us in the tire-wear department as we were able to run nearly two hours straight on one set,” Doug said. “The good news for us is that our Falken RT615k tires have really good grip in the wet so our speeds were still very high compared to most of our competitors.”
Saturday morning brought even heavier down pours as the morning practice was again deluged with rain. The DVM crew made some minor changes to the car and settled in on a set-up that DV could qualify on. As luck would have it, right at the end of the morning practice, the rains suddenly stopped and the track began to dry out throwing all the teams into a quandary, do they go out early or late in the 2-lap qualifying session, do the run their wet or their dry set-up? These were the questions on everyone’s minds…
Doug and his crew decided to go late in the session, run their dry suspension settings but their wet tires set-up. This decision made by Doug and Jon Wilburn was made literally minutes before DV made his runs and would prove to be the right ones as not only did the DVM Mustang qualify 1st but they were also awarded the Retaks Backpacks www.retaks.com “Insane Entry” award for the highest-speed/most impactful “entry” into turn-1. “Qualifying in the #1 position is always great but earning the “Insane entry” award from the fine folks at Retaks is an unexpected bonus. Their longtime support of drifting is really appreciated by all of the competitors and their bags are really cool as well.” Doug said after the session.
For DV’s first tandem battle, he would go up against Aaron Losey in his NST Nissan s13. Thanks to his #1 qualifying position, Doug would lead the first lap on all of his tandem battles including this one against Losey. On lap-1, DV “poured on the coal” right from the start and running a clean line, was able to pull out a sizable gap on the Texan as Aaron nearly spun in turn-1. On the second lap, Losey ran a very nice lap with good angle. DV staying right with him not only was able to match his angle but also close-in on him at times throughout the course giving Doug a clear advantage over the Nissan driver and advancing to the next round.
Next up for Doug was Miro Ovcharik in his V8 powered Nissan s13. This name might sound familiar to you as Doug went up against Miro at Summit Point earlier this year and he is always a tough competitor. On lap-1, DV ran a smooth lap; getting close to all the clips (except the final one, sorry Ben) and used his Falkens to lay down a nice smokescreen for Miro to deal with. On lap-2, DV’s Spotter Ben Lewallen made sure he was aware of Ovcharik’s speed and line tendencies. With Ben’s encouragement, Doug stayed glued to Miro’s car all the way through the course, again giving him a clear advantage over the hard-fighting Nissan driver moving him on to the Finals.
Doug’s third battle of the day would be with Texas new-comer Nate Hamilton in his nicely appointed Nissan s13 Hatch. Nate was the #1 qualifier at round-4 and had been running some different lines all weekend giving many of his fellow competitors fits. On lap-1 DV left little doubt, he was here to win pulling out some 6-car lengths over Hamilton giving Doug the clear advantage. On lap two however, DV closed in a little too much and “flinched” as Nate poured-on the angle through the second half of the course. This mistake forced DV to check-up and straighten-up for just a split second giving the advantage back to the Texas driver. As customary in drifting, when one driver runs a better lap on the first pass and the other driver runs a better lap on the second pass, the judges have no choice but to issue a “one more time”, meaning the “slate” is wiped clean and the drivers are lined back up for another round.
On lap-3, Doug again let the Mustang’s power do the talking as he carried even more speed than ever before into Turn-1. The Nissan driver tried his best to follow but couldn’t quite hold the line and ended up spinning-out. On lap-4, Hamilton again drove his unconventional line but this time DV did a better job and retained his angle through the course, all the while being within an arms-reach of the blue s14. This show of superiority was enough to give Van Den Brink the win and Hamilton a well deserved 2nd place finish.
“We were strong all weekend and I’m glad we were able to come through with a finish the car was capable of”, Doug said afterwards. “Ben and Jon did a great job managing both the car and me all weekend and our competitors really pushed us to raise our game another level. I can’t thank all the guys at XDC enough for their efforts putting on the event and all the fans that braved the rain to come watch us was really great. Ya’ just gotta love Texas”, DV concluded.
In all it was a banner weekend for DVM. Not only did they win the event, they qualified 1st, earned the best “entry” award from Retaks, earned a nice contingency check from NonStop Tuning, Enkei Wheels stepped up and awarded them a new set of racing wheels for winning the event and now Doug sits in 2nd place only 51-points behind the XDC series Points Leader Chelsea DeNofa. All and all, a pretty fair “haul” for their weekends work…
From here the team will make their annual “pilgrimage” out to “The House of Drift”, in Irwindale California for the Formula Drift season finale. Doug had a real good showing out there last year and on the heels of this Texas win, DVM is shooting even higher than before.