Vanden Heuvel Takes Two Top-5 Finishes at Perris II
Round 13 - 5th Place, Round 14 - Runner-Up Podium
Appleton, WI (September 29, 2009) - Dan Vanden Heuvel and his Flying Dutchman Off-Road Race Team had their #77 Maxxis Tire ATD Chevy Silverado truly flying high all weekend during Rounds 13 and 14 of the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL. The privateer team once again put the off-road racing world on notice as the red Chevy had two Top-5 finishes, nearly taking the win on Saturday night.
The layout at Perris Auto Speedway was the same when TORC raced at the facility in the spring. This time around TORC front man Ricky Johnson added a few new twists. A mogul section replaced the final portion of the rhythm section, the infield corners were banked more and the tabletop jump was slightly taller.
The first visit to Perris saw the Flying Dutchman land on the podium for the first time in 2009. Since then the limited budget team has been a Top-5 finisher four other times, including a win at Bark River in Round 7. This stop in southern California would see the Dutchman put two strong finishes back-to-back.
Friday night's Round 13 action saw the red #778 starting from the pole position. When the green flag fell twelve 900 horsepower trucks barreled down the front straightaway in front of a nearly packed grandstand. Dan used the track's cushion to the best of his ability, staying among the lead pack of drivers for all twenty laps. At the checkered flag, the Maxxis Tire ATD Chevy crossed the line in fifth place.
The next morning the Flying Dutchman team went to work making a chassis adjustment to get the Independent Off-Road designed and fabricated truck to carry a little more speed through the technical infield section of the track. With crew chief Ken Vergauwen and Super Buggy Champion Shawn Morris making the trip with Dan and Mike, the truck prep went without any hitch.
Saturday' PRO-2 race, the final round of the night saw Maxxis Tires take all the Wegner horsepower and torque it could produce, giving the red #77 the immediate lead. By the second lap Dan was six truck lengths ahead of second place. The distance between the top two trucks stayed that way all the way to the mandatory yellow. The unique design of the team's Maxxis DOT tires allowed Dan to take racing lines the rest of the field couldn't handle. . When the field went green the final ten laps were a real shootout. Lap after lap second place #11 MacCachern would dive low into the corners, as Dan went high and rode the cushion. Several times MacCachern would seem to have a slight lead coming out of the corner, but then Dan's truck would just accelerate past the #11. Then with three laps to go, MacCachern made the pass for the lead stick. By then the two front running trucks had opened up a large enough lead that no other racer was able to challenge Dan the rest of the race. At the finish line festivities, the celebration by the Maxxis Chevy was so loud, many in the crowd thought he had won the race.
"You all know by now that my son, Mikey, designed and built this awesome truck," exclaimed Dan Vanden Heuvel. "We don't have any outside money coming in to keep this program going, somehow the people that come along and volunteer their time, we seem to always work great together. It is very easy to make adjustments to this truck, and that's all thanks to Mikey's design. The Maxxis Tires we race with are the same tires you can buy for your truck right from the dealer. No other competitor can say that. Charlie from ATD builds us a great tranny that stays together no matter what the conditions. Thanks also go to Super Buggy Champion Shawn Morris, along with my longtime crew chief Ken Vergauwen, who came out here to give us a hand and these guys are just awesome."
With the two top five finishes over the weekend Dan Vanden Heuvel is in sixth place, only six points out of fourth place in the 2009 TORC PRO-2WD Championship standings.
You can watch all the Round 14 action, including the PRO-2WD race, Sunday, October 4, at 11:00am eastern on ESPN2.
The final weekend of the 2009 Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL is October 23-24 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In the coming week Dan and Mike will take the team transporter to Las Vegas to Jerry Daughtery's shop to prep the truck for the Las Vegas race. Many thanks goes out to Jerry and his family for their hospitality.