This past weekend saw our D’Vanz Motorsports team back in action at one of their favorite tracks, Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. For the past 10-years, this action-packed motorsports weekend known as HyperFest has been giving race-fans all that they could ask for in terms of automotive entertainment. From road-racing to drifting to show-cars and even a car rollover contest. This event brings in fans of all ages to experience some of the best driving on the East Coast.
Many of you may remember that HyperFest is kind-of an anniversary for Doug Van Den Brink and his Mustang for it was at this event exactly 6-years ago that the two first came together to learn what the sport of Drifting was all about. “Every time I come back to this track I like it more and more” Doug told reporters Friday morning. “It was here I “drifted” a car (this car) for the first time and this place has just always suited me and how I naturally like to drive this car.”
After a couple practice sessions Friday evening, it was time for the 29-car field to qualify. One-by-one the drivers laid-down their best two laps for the Judges to ponder over. After a brief intermission the 3-judge panel came back with their verdicts and Doug was awarded “Pole Position” with Brian Peters earning 2nd and Dave Briggs capturing the 3rd spot on the grid. “I’m really proud of our team today.” said DV after the announcements were made. “We came up here with a bit of a skeleton-crew, but we all worked really hard and it paid off with a great #1 qualifying result”.
Saturday morning saw another practice session for the Top-16 drivers and their teams. This morning would prove to be a bit more “drama-filled” than our DVM boys would have hoped for. The event organizers had changed the path in which the cars would leave the Paddock area enroute to the track so as to make room for Car Show parking. No one (including our guys) gave this simple change much thought and sure enough if there wasn’t a huge granite boulder sticking up out of the ground just below the height of the tall grass. Doug and his crew being keyed-up and ready to go this morning, were the first team to line-up for the session. Unfortunately, that meant that their Mustang would also be the first to drive down this new “path” through the Paddock. With a huge-thud and the screech of grinding steel on granite, the Mustang’s Crossmember and then Oil Pan found the boulder that was dead-center in the drive-lane and came to an abrupt halt atop this rock that had been their since the dawn of time. Luckily for our guys, after a hasty “look-over” and check of the gauges, it was determined that the damage was only cosmetic and the car was able to continue out for practice… But REALLY!!!
The practice session eventually went on as planned and Doug and his crew were set to battle it out for the evening competition. For DV’s first tandem battle, he would go up against new comer, Nick DAlessio driving a Nissan 240sx. This matchup would be tough for both drivers, as their respective Turn-1 entry speeds were some 25mph different. Doug (being the #1 Qualifier) would lead the first lap. Trying to be a “sportsman”, took a conservative speed entering Turn-1 giving Nick an opportunity to stay close at least for the first corner. Unfortunately, Nick misjudged his entry speed slightly and at the corner apex, slammed into the rear quarter-panel of DV’s Mustang. Luckily Doug gathered his car up and with only a slight-bobble continued on throughout the course leaving Nick buried in a cloud of Falken smoke.
On the pair’s second lap, despite the huge difference in entry-speeds, Doug followed the Nissan through the entire course in a mirroring-manner easily demonstrating his dominance over the other car and was able to advance to the “Great-8”.
For the next round, Doug would face Tanner Munson in his V8 powered Nissan 240sx. On lap-1, Tanner overshot Turn-1 and tried to play catch-up the rest of the way handing Doug the advantage straight away. On the second lap DV paced the Nissan driver perfectly and was awarded the win, advancing him to the 1/4 Finals.
For his 3rd battle of the day DV was pitted against Miro Ovcharik in his always-fast Chevrolet V8 powered Nissan s13. This battle would be a replay of last years Final that was unfortunately cut short when Miro’s Chevy engine overheated handing the win over to Doug uncontested. This year however, was a different story as Miro had put his heating issues behind him and was ready for the Mustang driver from North Carolina.
On lap-1, Doug laid-down a thin Falken cloud for the Nissan to navigate through. Miro ran his normal clean line but was a bit too far off the tail of the Mustang which gave DV a slight advantage. On lap-2, Doug followed the Nissan stride-for-stride through the course and even drew-up along side as the two drivers exited the track. This left the judges no choice but to award Doug the win sending him to the Finals.
For his last battle of the day, Doug went up against Canadian and fellow ASD/Falken supported driver Dave Briggs driving his Nissan s14. With DV leading Lap-1 he put down a smooth lap but with one small bobble in the second left-hander. Briggs on the other hand struggled holding onto the bumper of the Mustang and had a fairly-large correction exiting the Carousel section of the course. On lap-2 Briggs made a clean run through turn-1 with DV’s Mustang less than a foot off his rear bumper. As the two drivers entered the right hand turn-2, the Canadian driver brought in too much entry speed having to check-up to retain control of his car. This sudden change in speed also caused Van Den Brink to make a major speed correction causing him to change his line considerably. Once the two drivers sorted that out they tore through the rest of the course leaving only the noise of screaming engines and deep-blue smoke from their Falken tires behind them.
After some short deliberation the judges had their winner and the entire field was called down to the front straight to hear the announcement. “To be honest, I think this deal could go either way.” Doug said as he climbed from his car. “Dave ran well and we both made small mistakes so I really don’t know”. DV might not have known but the judges did and without much delay they announced that the Defending Champion Doug Van Den Brink was the HyperFest Champion for the second year in a row!
“It is really great to win this event again this year”, Doug said in Victory Lane. “I knew we had a good shot to repeat, but that Final (from where I sat) was a tough one and I thought Briggs ran a great event. He’s a good competitor and I’m sure we’re going to battle again soon. I must say that I’m really proud of how well everyone at DVM worked this weekend. Everyone did what they had to do and believe me when I say, we all share in this victory…”
With their second win in as many events, the DVM crew will be home in NC for a while as they go for win #3 on July 2-3 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for round #3 of the XDC East Series. Then with only a week’s break they’ll be back at CMS for another Formula D Pro-Am event so make sure you check back with us to see how our boys do when they compete in the heart of NASCAR country…