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Featured BirdDoc Stretches His Wings to Run with the Edelbrock Renegades in 2015

Discussion in 'News' started by EmilioV, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. EmilioV

    EmilioV Administrator Staff Member


    By Ainsley Jacobs

    Adrenaline-junkie Mark Duber has decided to seek a new source of adventure for 2015, and has committed to running in the NMRA Edelbrock Renegade class. This daredevil racer – whose high-flying antics earned him the “bird” portion of his nickname – has spent a considerable amount of time lately making sure his 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will be up to the challenge.

    Kentucky residents Duber and his wife, Melissa, hold esteemed positions in the medical field. He works as an orthopedic surgeon, and she as an ER doctor. The fast-paced medical world is exciting, but for Duber, he prefers to live dangerously at the drag strip.

    Duber originally purchased his beautiful Grabber blue ’13 GT500 as a daily driver to pay homage to his father’s BOSS 429, but as often happens, he was bitten by the performance bug and began researching ways to modify the car. He decided to step it up from a street car to a legit track car, and worked with Bischoff Racing Engines/BES to have the 5.8L Mod motor built and prepped for racing. A Kenne Bell 4.2L supercharger was slapped on, and Duber enlisted the help of Chad Epperson at London Chassis Dyno to handle practically everything else. “We also changed to a Tremec Magnum XL transmission, and got it all keyed in to see how fast we could go,” says the BirdDoc. The suspension was upgraded as well, and received a shock combination from Viking with a custom valve setup for the car based on the weight, power, and the team’s goals.

    In 2014, Duber went out with the mission of seeing how far he could push the limits of the 1,200+ horsepower car and its 6-speed transmission. He was most definitely not disappointed. “We showed up at our first race at Maryland International Raceway and had a fairytale weekend,” recalls Duber, who went on to reset the Shelby 6-speed ET world record with a huge 8.80 at 164.23 mph pass in the quarter mile during the first round of VMP Superchargers Terminator vs. GT500 eliminations at the 14th Annual NMRA Ford Nationals.

    Motivated by his success at Maryland, Duber wanted to push the envelope just a touch more. “I was trepidatious to jump to the larger 4.7L Kenne Bell supercharger because the car was a challenge to drive as is, but I thought ‘what the hell, let’s just go for it,’” he explains. After the upgrade was complete, BirdDoc’s Shelby put out a whopping 1,400+ horsepower at the wheels, and he had the tough task of learning how to handle all the newfound power.

    As the season drew to a close, Duber and his team discussed their plans for 2015. Originally, he planned to switch to an automatic, get the weight down, beef up the cage and continue with the GT500/Terminator Shootout, but when he found out at the 2014 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show that the Renegade class was going to allow the 4.7L supercharger as a power adder, “it was a no brainer to switch.”

    “The NMRA Edelbrock Renegade class has a lot to offer, and it’s a very competitive and established class,” states Duber. With the rule to allow the 4.7L unit, along with larger 76mm turbochargers, Duber is confident that the class is on the right path and will only get quicker and faster, which is a great motivation for him to run at his best. “I had fun trying to break records, but it wasn’t in a full-on race environment and I was missing a lot of that competitive feeling – I wanted to do more than just race against myself,” he adds.

    To prepare for his first outing of 2015, which will likely be the 15th Annual NMRA Ford Nationals on May 1st-3rd at Maryland International Raceway, Duber has had his BES-built motor freshened up, lowered the compression, and switched over from E85 to a C16 fuel setup. A three-speed Turbo 400 gearbox has been added, along with a Holley EFI dominator system. Duber will also be making the jump from his usual slick tires to a set of drag radials, and is has put the car on a major diet to get its weight down.

    In the interim, Duber will be testing in March at Beech Bend Raceway Park. He knows that 2015 will primarily be a learning year for him, and is excited to face the new challenges of the Renegade class with an open mind. “I’m going to do a lot of watching, progressing, and dialing the car in. I’m not going in thinking I’m going to take over the world; I just want to do the best I possibly can. I’m looking forward to learning from the other guys in the class so that I can eventually get to their level,” he plans, so that when he comes back out for the full 2016 schedule (which he’s already got on his calendar) he can be as competitive as possible and potentially score some new records.

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