The world of import drag racing was rocked October 1st by the news of the untimely passing of drag racer and car builder Saul Salceda. Accounts suggest he fell while at work and suffered a severe head trauma that ultimately took his life. Word of the accident spread across social media and condolences from some of the industry’s biggest names have poured in recalling the quiet but hard working demeanor of the likable young founder of Mission Critical Performance in Ontario, Calif.
Salceda first rose to notices in the early 2000s, campaigning an H-series engine swapped Honda CR-X that he trailered out to the East Coast from California as a 20-year-old pro-am racer. He wound up staying back East, joining all-motor class stalwarts Prayoonto Racing in 2004 and driving the Clutch Masters Pro Stock Acura Integra for a handful of years. He won a championship in the car in 2007, and in the intervening years since Salceda has continued to be part of the scene, launching Mission Critical Performance (many record holders are using his five-axis ported cylinder heads) and always up for getting behind the wheel whenever he could.
“He was my right hand man and best friend. I cannot express how much he will be missed” – Norris Paryoonto
“It definitely puts things into perspective on how quickly a life can be taken and how precious every day is” – Justin Pawlak
“We lost another hard working, smart, and very nice guy” – Taka Aono
“Just a straight up guy with a heart of gold” – The Sauce Spot
“He was a rare combination of fast driver, innovator, and extremely nice guy” – Cometic Gasket
“He came from the greatest years of import drag racing, driving, working and always involved with it all. A straight up honest, hard-working man who helped build some of the greatest machines we see in motorsports still today” – Motolyric
“He was a natural behind the wheel of anything” – E-Racer Productions
Just 31 years old, Salceda is survived by a wife and two children. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. Like Shaun Carlson and Stephanie Eggum before him, his loss leaves an enormous hole in the Honda performance and sport compact racing communities.
To help the Salceda family in their time of need, please consider contributing to the Saul Salceda Memorial Fund.