Cornelius, NC (August 4, 2012)- For those new to following Doug Van Den Brink’s career, back when he raced Legends Cars, there was a couple of seasons where he won more events than any other driver at the famous Charlotte Motor Speedway. Racking up multiple Feature wins and even a National Championship, every time DV drives through the tunnel leading to the track’s infield, he has a feeling of coming home as he as the rest of the D’Vanz Motorsports crew feel that CMS is “their house”.
“I love coming to this race track”, Van Den Brink said as the team unloaded their Mustang from the DVM transporter. “I have had some of my very best memories at this place. I’ve also had some of my worst with the passing of my friend Russell Philips over in Turn-4 wall many years ago… He was a good racecar driver and an even better person. Every time I come here to compete, I know I’ve got my own Guardian Angel looking out for me.”
This was the first time Doug had run at CMS this year, “Last season we ran here a bunch. I ran the drift car a couple of times and I ran a few Legends Car races. For some reason, we didn’t seem to have the right “Mo-Jo” go’n last year. This year, things are going to be different. We are going to be better.” Van Den Brink said with a determined look in his eye.
It seemed the entire team was feeling it, as everyone appeared to be walking with conviction. When the first practice session started, DV did his customary recon-lap to make sure everything within the car felt good. He radioed to the team, he was good to go and the Falken Tire ”Smoke Show” was underway. While the other teams were easing into their lines and figuring out their chassis set-ups, Doug was on the gas and going for it. From the car, to the crew, to the driver, DVM was firing on all cylinders. So much so, that one of the other front-running drivers who was watching Doug during the first practice session was overheard saying, “Well, I can see the rest of us will be battling it out for 2nd place”.
Practice session-2 came and the team made a few changes that seem to really make the car even better. “We started with the same set-up we ran last year and then adjusted the chassis from there.” Doug said. “For the 2nd session we tried some pretty big changes that our friends at ASD had recommended to us. The car now feels less edgy and is much easier to drive at different speeds. At these Pro-Am events you go up against cars that have major differences in entry speeds and if your car can only work at 1-speed, you have trouble. I’m much more comfortable going both slow and fast with the car now and I think it’s really going to help us come time for the competition,” DV concluded.
When qualifying time came around, on his first pass, Doug laid-down a clean run that put the team in 3rd place. On his second qualifying lap, Doug added more speed and even more angle than he had before which placed the DVM Mustang clearly up on top of the chart earning Doug yet another “Pole position” at CMS.
Being the #1 Qualifier, Van Den Brink would be pitted up against Alex Youe’, a young Georgia driver looking to make his mark. With Doug leading Lap-1, he ran a lap similar to his first qualifying lap: good speed, nice angle and a solid line. For his part, Alex did his best to keep up but his Nissan 240 was no match for the powerful Mustang leaving Doug with the advantage. On lap-2, Alex brought good speed and angle into turn-1 but with DV close on his heels, his car suddenly bogged-down and then straightened out leaving Van Den Brink no where to go but into the back bumper of the Nissan. As Doug buried the brake-pedal trying to lesson the impact, he spun the Mustang to the inside. Luckily, the Judges had a clear view of this incident and gave Doug the win noting that Alex’s car was the cause of the issue.
In the great-8, Doug would go up against Jason Jiovani in his Chevy V8 powered Nissan 240. Jason was struggling with his car all weekend. While he ran a decent follow-lap, combined with a pretty good Lead-lap, on this weekend, he was no match for Van Den Brink and the Mustang driver quickly advanced to the next round.
Next up was Brad Heyl in his Nissan 240. This would be a close battle as the Pittsburgh native is no stranger to big-speed. On lap-1, DV ran a good lap with Brad not too far behind. The Mustang had pulled away slightly but Heyl had his sights set on the Red Ford. Lap-2 wasn’t a stellar follow-lap for Van Den Brink as Heyl speed (especially for a Pro-Am level driver) surprised all once he got his Nissan “pointed into the wind”. With DV calling on every single bit of power under his Mustang’s hood, he managed to stay in close enough proximity to get the hard fought win over the Nissan.
Now in the Finals, Doug would battle his good friend from Texas, Nate Hamilton in his Chevy LS Nissan 240. Nate is always fast and by qualifying 2nd, Van Den Brink knew he’d have to really put in a good couple of passes if he wanted to win on his home-turf.
Lap-1 went well for Van Den Brink as Hamilton gave up a little to much distance at the start and never could close it back up giving the Carolina driver a slight advantage. On lap-2, DV was determined not to let anything slip away. He followed Hamilton’s line, step-for-step and stayed with him through the entire coarse. While it was a good battle, Doug Van Den Brink was victorious at Charlotte Motor Speedway once again…
LtoR: 3rd place- Dan Savage, 2nd place-Nate Hamilton, 1st place- Doug Van Den Brink
“Winning at this track always means a lot to me”, DV said in Victory Lane. “The guys really worked hard for this one. They had to make one trip back to the shop and then another one to the local Parts Store to make some last minute changes that really did make the difference. There’s no way I can thank them enough for their efforts. This really was a “team-win”, Doug concluded.
With the next Pro-Am event a full 8-weeks away and the series points lead firmly in their grips, Doug and his crew will get a much needed break before they try and sew-up the 2012 Championship. Please check back with us to see if they can close this year out with a bang….
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