Mark has had the engine out enough times and has had enough gremlins invade his electrical system, that he has gone out of his way to simplify problem solving.

Expecting problems is normal for most of us. Anticipating problems and being flexible when they happen is a step beyond that. Taking steps ahead of time to make it easy to fix the problem that has not occurred and may not occur is way beyond the level that most of us will attain. That is why we have not participated in Targe Newfoundland, because to complete this event that is what you have to do. Roadside fixes are something that we have all done, but there are difficult ways and easy ways to do them. To ensure that if there were any electrical gremlins that he could find a quick solution, the action was to develop a custom wiring harness with all separate elements was Mark's answer. The engine management system is one unit. The general truck lights and fuses are wrapped together. The all important cooling system is all by itself. So is the fuel system electrics. If you are wondering how he did all of this for Targa Newfoundland, stop. He began this project in 2010 when he installed the 427 LSX engine. Well before the Targa even was even a figment of his imagination, he was preparing the truck. All of the electrics run automatically but Mark has manual overrides so that in competition he can ensure everything is operating exactly as he wants.


What other race vehicle would you be able to load up with an authentic lobster trap? Behind them is Scott Robbins' Open Class Escort and the Open Class BMW 323i with driver Pilling and navigator Harrison. Look a bit further and you'll see more of the picturesque scenery for which Newfoundland is famous.
That's Martin, Mark's father, behind the wheel. He encouraged Mark not only at the beginning of this journey but throughout the past 26 years that led up to the Targa. He's now looking beyond, wondering how the truck will do in a Texas top speed competition this year?

Targa Truck was at the Maxton Monster Mile in Texas in 2011 and ran 128 mph in the GT license category before weather shut them down. This year, from an equipment perspecttive the truck is set up for what would have been the 175 mph class and what it will be capable of we can only wait to see. Mark loves driving his truck and testing it to the limit. Targa Newfoundland did that. Mark is going to be driving the truck to Texas in October for another speed run and to explore what limits physics will put upon the truck's top speed. There is no question that the safety gear required for Targa Newfoundland – the roll cage, fire suppression system, Momo Daytona Evo seats, 6 point RaceQuip harness, Hans device, and RaceQuip driver suit, helmet, and shoes – all become mandatory gear. That is because the limits that Targa Truck are pushing keep getting more and more extreme.


Martin has had 4 GMC long beds. Mark, only one, but it has had multiple lives. It is an amazing truck with a story that just keeps building. Mark has Down Syndrome Awareness  painted on the front fenders because he wants to build awareness and acceptance in our world.

As an educator I have worked with many special needs children and they are near and dear to my heart – I asked Mark why he had 'Down Syndrome Awareness' painted on the truck. I could not say it as well as he did, so here is the story about why he is sponsoring and promoting awareness of 'Down Syndrome Awareness' in his own words:

Keep in mind I am/was a fairly new dad at the time, not sure of what the “right thing” is to do in this situation (do I leave my family for two weeks, spend a lot of money, just to participate inTarga Newfoundland) – enter or not. Liz and I had just had the “Just do it” conversation when my son cried out. I went up stairs to check on him – he was fine, fast asleep again. So there I am watching him sleep, thinking how crappy it would be to tell him stories of “I wish I had.” Professionally, I am a lead by example type and believe that is the way to achieve things. So, I applied that thinking as a dad and did it.

After announcing my entry,  I had received a message for an old friend's little brother, who had a son the same age as Wyatt, but (his son –  name omitted as I do not have permission to post it) was born with Down Syndrome. When I first met (his son) I asked, how's it going? I hadn't noticed (his son) was any different than my son. To which (dad) replied enthusiastically and happily “Great, other than the whole down syndrome thing”. No sarcasm in his voice, nothing. This guy was a proud and happy dad. They worked tirelessly with their son from day one, so he could succeed in life. Not only that, but they volunteer with charity organizations. How they have the time and energy – I have no idea. So, when he asked if I'd put “Down Syndrome Awareness” on the truck I said “yes” !

March 21 is Down Syndrome Awareness day. Click on the links in the Sources section to see how you can participate.

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