The calm before the storm often signals a coming onslaught of the power of Mother Nature, and the sentiment fits perfectly with what Dan Saitz, 3-time Modified Power Adder class winner at Hot Rod Drag Week and former NMRA/NMCA competitor, has planned for his upcoming 2021 NMRA/NMCA drag racing season.
Saitz, owner-operator of Hyperformance Motorsports in Missouri, has a longstanding history of building some of the baddest street-legal cars in existence—including his ’88 Ford Mustang LX. The hatchback has gone through a host of changes over the years, but was surprisingly absent from the scene in 2020 as Saitz began yet another rebuild of the Fox body in early 2019.
“I went with a completely new 427ci small-block Ford from Bennett Racing Engines,” explained Saitz, who contacted Jon Bennett around Thanksgiving in 2020 to have the Windsor engine ready for the start of his 2021 year. “I’ll be using a ProCharger F1-A supercharger and direct drive.”
Saitz made the headers himself, then wired up the entire car to utilize the FuelTech FT600 EFI system with matching data and ignition components. Next, he completed the powertrain with a TCI Transmissions and Converters Pro-X Powerglide transmission with matching shifter and torque converter.
As it sits, Saitz’s Mustang features a 25.2 SFI-certified chassis, fabricated in-house by Hyperformance Motorsports, that will keep the car safe and legal well into the 6-second zone. Out back, a simple yet effective solution consisting of a Strange Engineering 9-inch Ultra case with Matheis Race Cars-fabricated rearend housing has proven to be a winning combination for the driver.
Although the new engine was perhaps the biggest and most noticeable change, there were many other minor tweaks and changes made to the jaw-dropping machine to prepare it for another foray into heads-up class racing.
“I’m planning on running NMRA Edelbrock Renegade, NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street, and Ultra Street as these are closest to my car and engine combination that I had previously run in Drag Week,” explained Saitz, who particularly likes the family atmosphere of the NMRA and NMCA events. “I’ve had fun racing at the NMRA and NMCA before and want to get the car competitive so I can win a few races.”
Racing alongside friends and family is a big part of the equation in keeping the hard work enjoyable for Saitz, and he’s thankful for the support he’s received from his wife, Connie, their daughters, Anna and Beth, his parents, Jim and Barb Saitz, as well as his crew Jason Hoard, Greg Bell, Jim Williams, Doug Edwards, and Chris Justus.
Despite his impressive past and notoriously successful history, Saitz doesn’t like to make grand announcements or predictions without having first put in the time to prove he can back up the talk. His calm demeanor is undoubtedly a precursor to him making a big impression when it’s finally time to drop the hammer and go on green.