By Mary Lendzion
Dan Caissie had a ton of success in his two-tone Mustang last year.
He drove the car, powered by a big-block Ford by Rob Reynolds of Space Coast Speed and a C6 transmission, to mid 10s, three runners-up and a win in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp before capturing the class championship.
Soon after, he headed to the Papa Ray Memorial Race in honor of a fellow racer at New England Dragway in New Hampshire, where he broke a valve, cracked his stock block, wiped out a piston and hurt his Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads. He was debating what to do with the engine when he came across a Capri with a Mustang nose, headlights and tail lights in November, and purchased it.
He then performed a fair amount of electrical work on the tube chassis car which has a four-link suspension and a 9-inch rear end, and came with a big-block Chevrolet engine with Dart 355 heads and a Dart intake.
Caissie topped the engine with the alcohol-sipping APD carburetor from his other engine, and a mere week after getting the car, he set out for the Fall Footbrake Frenzy at Piedmont Dragway in North Carolina, where he won several rounds. He followed that with the New Year Nationals on Dec. 31 at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida, and in the semifinal round of eliminations at 12:03 a.m., he had trouble with his Powerglide transmission and ATI converter.
“Several of my fellow racers jumped in to try to help me repair my transmission at the track, which I really appreciated,” said Caissie. “But I did end up having to send it to Gregoire Racing Transmissions to be repaired, and I sent my converter to Wayne Horton to be repaired.”
Turning his focus to the start of the NMCA season and defending his MagnaFuel Open Comp championship, Caissie took his big-block Chevrolet engine to Nelson Belot to be freshened. When he got it back, as good as new, he and his girlfriend, Megan Lincoln, installed it just in time to make the Whipple Superchargers NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in mid-March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. After arriving at the event, setting his timing and getting his chassis certified, Caissie had a bit of trouble on the track.
“We had problems with the fuel pump flow at the race at Bradenton Motorsports Park, and we were running too lean,” said Caissie, who qualified in the twenty-fifth spot with an .041 reaction time, chose a 9.34 dial for the weekend, won first round of eliminations and went -.009 red in the second round of eliminations. “We weren’t getting enough fuel flowing. We tried a different fuel pump at the track, and it helped, but it wasn’t 100 percent yet, so I ordered a new MagnaFuel fuel pump when I got home, and am waiting for it now.”
With the new MagnaFuel fuel pump, plus a fresh set of Mickey Thompson slicks, Caissie will give it another go at the upcoming Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport, April 8-11 at Atlanta Dragway.
“The new car definitely has potential that it hasn’t shown yet because of our fuel problems, and because it also needs new shocks,” said Caissie. “It should run low 9s at close to 150 mph when it’s completely tuned-up, and it will be kind of nice to do some chasing down-track rather than being chased all the time. My other, car, the one I won the Open Comp championship in last year, needs a little loving, so I’ll be racing this new one for a while.”