We love emerging drag racing talent and this focused Canadian certainly has a story to tell….

It is a very long journey from North Central Saskatchewan to Australia’s New South Wales, but that is the current reality for a very talented student of drag racing – Mark Savage.

Mark Savage has with hard work and determination honed his talents into some international demand.

Right now, within the very fast and very demanding world of fast door slammer genre racing, this Saskatchewan-born tuner and crew chief has steadily and consistently gained reputation while charting his own course.

As we pen this, Mark is down under in Australia, lending his expertise to one of that country’s top rated Pro Slammer racing teams, owned by Sydney-based Steve Sarkis and driven by Sam Fenech.   Mark is deeply involved helping that team set up it’s baseline as the Australia drag racing scene begins to ramp up for it’s upcoming season.   The fact that this Canadian plays such a key role with such a high profile team — on literally the other side of the world — does speak volumes.

For Mark, who is 29 years old, his journey seemingly did begin rather innocently, but has been accelerating exponentially ever since.

“I was born and raised in Saskatoon,” he revealed.  “But my drag racing experience first started in Humbolt Saskatchewan with Kevin Terres’ family and their TAFC operation.  At age 13-14 – I cut my teeth there.  I was then a high school kid who worked with Kevin on weekends and evenings.   Kevin actually gave me a chance to drive his car too — and I was only 16!”

When Mark turned 18 his fortunes directed him farther east as he moved to Barrie Ontario.  It was there that he became an understudy to highly reputed tuning legend/engine builder and Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Al Billes.   Needless to say that assocation with ABR had a catapult effect. 

“I grew up admiring and taking inspiration from people like Bernie Fedderly, Dale Armstrong and Bob Papirnick,” Mark continued.  “Then my involvement with Al Billes helped to open up a lot of doors.  Along the way I was able to rub shoulders too with guys like Bob Newberry and Darren Mayer. “

Over time, Mark became deeply involved with a number of prominent drag racing teams as his specialty became fast door slammer and Pro Modified genre racing.  He gathered up experience racing with multiple teams with that list including Roger Burgess’s R2B2 team, the middle east’s NAS P/X team, Canada’s Raymond Commissio and Steve “Fast” Jackson.

Mark Savage’s career includes a number of prominent Pro Mod race team associations — not the least of who was with Steve “Fast” Jackson within NHRA racing.

“I think I got to where I am now because of pure and simple hard work,” he added.  “I don’t have anything formal like an engineering degree — everything I know was self taught.  That continues to be my mindset — when I wake up — the race car is on my mind and I plan my day around that.  For me to be successful I know I must continue to work hard because if I don’t, in this fast developing industry, I won’t be there tomorrow.  My personal philosophy is simple — I want to continue to be the best I can be and always better then yesterday.”

Mark has also built up his racing reputation as being very well rounded.  He is an A-Z person on the race car, with his involvement going well beyond just the engine tune-up department to include chassis, suspension, transmission and clutch decision making.

In real time — all those now proven credentials are what currently has landed him his most recent assignment.   His in demand talents are the very reason that he is now back over in Australia for a 3rd international visit to that continent.   He also admits that (for him personally) racing in Australia does offer some unique opportunity to add some very special chapters to his racing resume.

Mark (left) first made his debut with the potent Australian JSS Racing Team which features car owner Steve Sarkis (right) and driver Sam Fenech last year.

“I just love the people, the attitude and the racing facilities (in Australia),” he admitted.  “For sure running Pro Slammer here does have a different flavour then Pro Mod in North America.  They use different set ups and I get to use some stuff (tech) I’ve never seen before.  With Steve’s team we run a big overdrive C-rotor in a light weight car to the 1/4 mile.  That’s been a really cool and good learning experience for me.”

Mark’s racing experience does include some interesting non drag strip experiences too.  Away from the asphalt and on sand he has been involved with top rated and world record holding Uphill Truck racing in Dubai and he has also personally tuned and driven a winning sand drags dragster – as recently as just last summer.   

Last summer Mark tuned and raced this own sand circuit dragster in Western Canada.

Mark confirms that he has now signed a one year term deal with the JSS (Steve Sarkis/Sam Fenech) Pro Slammer team which will chase Australia’s highly reputed 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series Championship this season.  

Here is a sneak peek at the all new JSS Racing Pro Slammer Camaro which Mark Savage will oversee this season in Australia.

While that will certainly be interesting to monitor and watch — in the long term Mark also hinted that he has even higher aspirations — including a goal eventually branching out into drag racing’s ultimate classes ( fuel car racing ) at some point in the future.

Posted by Bruce Biegler