Mid Season Review

We have reached the midpoint of the racing season and to say that things haven’t gone as planned is an understatement. However, that’s how racing goes and we are keeping are head’s up and are looking ahead to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, MN and finishing out our season in St. Louis at the end of September. (Learn more about these races on our schedule page).

In Norwalk, we approached Q1 with the goal of trying to run a low 80, but smoked the tires just like we did in Q4 in Joliet. This made us dig a little deeper into the data recorder where we discovered that in Q3 at Chicago, we had broken an air fitting that runs our fuel system. Though ideally we would have caught this after Q4 in Joliet, we missed it, causing the motor to run accurately. Since we had this issue fixed, we were confidant going into Q2 at Norwalk, but because we shot out a spark plug, things didn’t go as planned. In Q3, likely due to high track temperatures, lack of rubber on the racing surface, we again smoked the tires. We sat out Q4 in the hopes that we would still make it, but we got bumped out by .03 seconds.

We were of course upset, but we don’t plan to alter form our goal of what we are trying to achieve this year. When you are limited with runs, it makes it more difficult to become a 70 car without paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of the big teams for a tune up.

We hope to see you at Brainerd in a few weeks and look forward to your support as we wrap up our season.

Season Wrap Up: Charlotte

Our race in Charlotte was a planned weekend to learn how to run the car harder and figure out how to get in the 3.70’s.  Our game plan for Q1 was to set up the car to run what we normally do, which is a high 80 to low 90. 

In the first round, we ran 3.90 seconds and I shut it off at 3.7 second. With that number on the board, we knew we were comfortably in the show.  So, we spent the next 3 qualifying runs trying things we have never ventured to do in the clutch department. 

The car did show us promise that it can and will run in the 70’s very soon and it responded favorably with every change we made. The short track numbers were great, but we couldn’t get the pistons to live past half track.  Each run we worked on the fuel system and it did get better, but we weren’t able to successfully pull it off. 

On Sunday, our game plan was to back the tune up off a little bit and try to run a low 80 to make sure we went down the track and if Clay messed up, we would win. Unfortunately, I got a little too anxious on the starting line.  As we were both staged, I began to push on the throttle anticipating the tree.  Well my brain caught up and said no so I let off the throttle and then of course the tree came down.  So my reaction time was atypical and the run was messed up because of the rpm changes at launch.  I felt horrible to let my team down because Clay was definitely vulnerable to be put on the trailer.  However, overall I would say we had a good weekend and really learned a lot to start making this car perform more in line where it should be.

We are looking forward to next summer as we decide what races are optimal for myself and my team. Please keep checking this site and our Facebook page for updates in the off season.

Summit Nationals: A Wet Weekend


Photo Courtesy of Mike Corn

Unfortunately, if you were in Norwalk this past weekend, you know that a lot of the events were quite literally a wash. Rain came in on Friday and dominated much of the qualifications before a clear Sunday for eliminations.

In Q1 on Friday, a $10 part cost us the run--this is racing though. Things happen, and you just have to move on and try again. Luckily, we were able to get in another pass for Q3 as both Q2 and Q4 were rained out. 

In E1, Tony Schumacher was just a bit faster, with a .092 reaction time to our .070 and he ran a 3.807 to our 3.902. Overall, it was a great run and we are proud of what we accomplished this weekend.

A huge shout out to our absolutely amazing fans who braved the rainy weather, and as always my amazing crew who worked tirelessly to make this a great weekend.

We are taking July off to regroup, recharge, and relax with our families. Please check our schedule to see where you can find us next and stay tuned to our social media for updates about our new t-shirts we hope to have available for you in August!


Route 66 Nationals

We had a great weekend at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, IL. We were thrilled to win our first round against Brittany Force and can not thank all of our fans enough for their cheers, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. 

We are still learning the tuning curve for the 6 disk clutch, but we are getting really close to having a more consistent (and faster!) car.

A big thank you to our crew, who work tirelessly every race!

Also, a shout out to Paul Kohler, who took some amazing photos of the car! We'll be including some on the website, but in the meantime, check them out on our Facebook page!

©Paul Kohler    

©Paul Kohler


Meet Nick Shultz, Short Block Specialist

We are proud to welcome Nick Shultz of Fort Wayne, IN to the crew!

Nick is an engine machinist and engine builder who is new to our crew this season. He has been interested in racing since his childhood. His father took him to both IndyCar races and the US Nationals in Indianapolis in his youth and it is something he remembers fondly. 

Nick looks forward to contributing consistent quality workmanship to the team.

A big thank you to Nick for dedicating his time to the team this year!

Our First Race

We were excited to get the car out in Bristol and to see all of the support from fans as we made our first pass of the season.

The high point was our Q2 run where we ran a 3.955 at only 265 mph. We were also lucky to get some TV time on Fox Sports 1--thanks to all of you who shared the video on social media. It's always fun to hear from fans at home!

We will be in Joliet the weekend of July 8th and are looking forward to more normal air and weather conditions in the hopes of making four really good qualifying runs to learn more about our new clutch and fuel systems.

This year, we have two main goals: to run in the 70's and win a round of racing. 

Help us with those goals by showing your support on social media--whether on our facebook page or by tweeting us with #kylewurtzelracing. Reading your posts helps motivate us!

Thank you again for your support this season!

Hero Card Requests

For hero card requests, please visit the contact page.

In the subject line, please indicate hero card requests and in the message, please indicate how many you will need.

Please note it may take up to a month to ship and that requests will be accommodated as long as supplies last.

My Crew: Take Two

The questions have been pouring in about the crew.

The crew members are volunteering their time to be on the Kyle Wurtzel Racing team. Several of the crew members have worked on other part-time or full-time teams in the fast and a few are first time crew members. The crew members come to us through recommendation and are from Illinois, Iowa, Canada, and Indiana. Obviously this is a dangerous sport and having a sharp crew like mine is very important to help keep me safe and the parts in the car.

For more information about our amazing crew, click here.

Please note, we aren't currently accepting new crew members.



What does the crew do?

Quite a few of you have asked what the crew does at the race track.

On Friday and Saturday nights we spend about 3-4 hours after everyone leaves servicing the race car and parts to be ready for the next day.  This typically involves working on heads to make sure they are in tip top shape, grinding the flywheel and pressure plate so they are straight and new, cleaning up the mess on the car from the two runs, and fixing any of the small things that might have happened. 

We also put a set of rods and pistons in the motor for the next run but don’t bolt on the heads because we have to wait and see what the weather conditions are going to be like to make a head gasket call.  We then pack everything up for the night.  My crew guys will leave and stay at a local hotel.

We couldn't do what we do without our amazing crew, who take time out of their lives to support Kyle Wurtzel Racing!

Last Week at Route 66

It's been a week since our last race. I want to start this post by thanking Mike Wojciechowski at Xtreme Edge Excavating for his support this past weekend!  Thanks Mike!! 

Heading into the weekend we were very excited, but nervous.  With both qualifying shots being night sessions, we assumed the bump was going to be fast.  Our game plan was to make two early shut off shots on Friday.  We are working on our mid track numbers trying to run harder to get in the mid to low 3.80 range.  On the first shot, I shut the car off around half track.  Which turned out to be a good thing.  The left side cylinder head was trying to push out a head gasket and it started to melt the head a little.  On the second shot on Friday, I shut the car off at half-track again and for the second time in a row we were lucky.  This time we shot out a spark plug on the right side of the motor. 

Most likely, if we didn’t plan on the early shut offs, I probably wouldn’t have felt the problems and we would have ended up with some catastrophic damages.  After Friday, we were optimistic about Saturday because the car is wanting to run 3.85-3.86 pretty easily and we escaped Friday night with limited damage and no oil down penalties.  On Saturday for the Q3 we had the car set up to try to run a 3.86 and unfortunately on the run we broke an air fitting on the clutch management system that caused the clutch bearing to move quicker and subsequently smoked the tires.  When we got back to the pit for between round service is, we found the problem.  The fitting was an easy fix, but the biggest problem was going to be bleeding the management system.  

Thankfully fellow competitor Luigi Novelli saved our day.  This shows you that he and his crew are first class people.  Luigi was going to be the car that we were going to try to bump out and without his help we wouldn’t of had that chance.  Thank you very much Novelli Racing! 

Unfortunately for us, mother nature had a different plan and prevented us from making the last qualifying shot.  So we were left outside of the top 16 and were spectators for the rest of the weekend.  Overall, we had a great time but just had a little bad luck over the weekend.  We are very content with the car and the direction we are heading with it. 

A big thank you to our fans for your tweets, comments on Facebook, and your presence at the track. We look forward to seeing you all in St. Louis this September!

Win a FREE Kyle Wurtzel Racing Hat

Help us generate buzz about Kyle Wurtzel Racing on social media.
Post a photo on twitter with the hashtag, #kylewurtzelracing either at the track, watching the race on TV, or how you get your information about the race. One random person will be chosen from their tweets to win a hat!

The race will be on ESPN 2 on Friday from 10 p.m. to midnight and on Saturday LIVE from 2-5 p.m.

We look forward to chatting with you on Twitter! If you aren't already, make sure to follow us.

The Top Five of the NHRA Kansas Nationals

1. We ran our career best of 3.89
2. We qualified. (If you're keeping track, we've qualified for our first two NHRA races!)
3. We were able to get 4 runs in to work on our tune up with the new parts we bought in the off season.
4. We were able to get a good baseline for the Chicago race, which will most likely be the quickest race we will attempt to qualify for.
5. The crew guys were able to get back into the swing of things. (It had been 8 months since our last run).

Overall, it was a great weekend. Check out the awesome pictures from Auto Imagery!

Topeka Bound

In just two short weeks, we will be heading to Topeka to make our 2015 debut.

On Friday, May22nd, our goal is to make two half track passes to make sure all of the new parts we bought in the off season are working the way we think they should before we run the car to the end.

On Saturday, our game plan is to get in the top 16 and get a good baseline for Sunday. If all goes well, and we make the field, we will do our best to give our first round opponent a run for their money.

We can't wait to see our fans. Make sure to share your photos and videos on our Facebook page or tweet them to @kwurtzelracing with the hashtag, #kylewurtzelracing.

The Off Season

We get a lot of questions at Kyle Wurtzel Racing. One of the most common is asking what tyoe of work we do on the car during the off season.  Believe it or not, there is a lot that needs to be done before our season begins.

We spend the most of our time doing maintenance and looking over our parts. This past weekend we completely disassembled the rear end and changed out the gear, pinion, and spool. The parts all looked good, but we are trying to avoid a major catastrophe by not breaking it.

If that did happen, it would be a major set back for us because a broken reared typically means a destroyed motor because it will over rev. The rest of the weekend was spent grinding used and new clutch disk flat to be able to run. Then we built packs that where all the same thickness so in-between round service is made simpler.

We hope to see you at some of our races this season. Keep checking our schedule for the races we plan to attend!

New Primary Sponsor for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals

We are proud to announce that Xtreme Edge is going to be the primary sponsor for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals July 9th-12th at the Route 66 Raceway in Chicago. This is an amazing opportunity, allowing Kyle to participate in a fantastic NHRA experience.

Stay tuned for more information about this partnership. We hope to see you all in Chicago in July!

If you are interested in sponsoring opportunities, please contact us. If you want to know more about our sponsors and supporting sponsors, visit our website!


Rear Wheel Speed

First of all, I'd like to apologize for waiting almost a month to blog. If you didn't know, my wife and I adopted a newborn baby in late January. I'm finally back in the swing of things and gearing up for the racing season to begin!

Today, I'd like to talk about rear wheel speed. All of the tune up adjustments for the launch of the car are in an attempt to get a certain rear wheel speed. If there is too much wheel speed, the car will smoke the tires and not enough will cause tire shake. Both results end up in aborted runs.

There are several variables that can be changed to affect wheel speed. Those adjustments also depend on track conditions. If a track is hot and greasy, we need to be careful to not get too much wheel speed. In these conditions we will run used tires because they are bigger in diameter.  When track conditions are the opposite, we will run new tires to get more rear wheel speed because they are smaller in diameter. Some teams will make rear wheel changes in the staging lanes if weather conditions are changing quickly.

Other adjustments we will make to affect wheel speed is primary weight on the clutch, height of the wheelie bar, and air pressure in the tires.

Have ideas for content you'd like to see on the blog? Feel free to let me know via twitter or contact me here!

More about the car: Ignition Timing

Recently, I had request about ignition timing so this week, I will talk about that!

Timing is one of those tuning adjustments that can occur right up to the fire up in the water box. During a race, you might notice the crew chief with a small black box in the staging lanes or in the water box before they start.  This is called a graphic editor or pro mag digital retard interface. The part number is 7570 from MSD. They use this box to adjust the timing map. Most crew chiefs will have several timing maps saved in the editor for various track conditions and can change the timing map very quickly in the car.

This editor hooks up to the the digital multi-stage retard controller part number 8971 from MSD via a small cable. The controller is what sends the timing map to the motor. At the hit of the throttle for the launch there will be a lot of timing in the motor 55 degrees or more. This is done to get rear wheel speed going but timing is then immediately being pulled out to control the rear wheel speed.

Too much timing will cause the car to smoke the tires and not enough can cause it to shake. Wheel speed is a very touchy issue and deserves its own blog.  Some of you might wonder how the timing map is triggered in the car. In my car, I have a small air activated button under the gas pedal so when it is smashed all the way down it triggers the timing control along with the fuel system controls and clutch controls. Going back to the launch, we start pulling timing out of the motor at 1 tenth of a second into the run and continue to pull it out until 1.1 seconds in the run down to 35 degrees. From there we ramp timing back into the motor and at 2.0 seconds into run the motor might have 46 degrees or more back in it. Remember, timing is power and these cars are all about making power.

The Fuel We Burn: Nitromethane

Nitromethane, otherwise known as "nitro" is best described by HotRod Magazine, which notes "Nitromethane-or CH3NO2-is one member of a family of explosive compounds that contain nitrogen and oxygen." For more details, please check out HotRod's great article, What is Nitromethane, Anyway?

Now that you have read a little bit about nitro, lets discuss how we get it and use it.  When you run an NHRA national event, a driver has to buy it onsite at the race from their provider.  In years past, it has been VP but this year, it is changing to Sunoco.  This is the NHRA’s way of making sure everyone is running the same fuel and that we are all on a level playing field.  When we buy it, we receive 42 gallons of 100% nitromethane in a drum.  The rulebook only allows us to run 90% nitro. Many teams cut down the percentage with Alcohol.  Now every team will run a little different percentage based on their tune up, but it can’t be over 90%.  Our tune up is based on a percentage of 88. The first thing that I do when I get the fuel is pump it into 5 gallon containers and then adjust the percentage down to 88. Everyone does this differently, but I weigh out a certain amount of the 100% nitro and add certain amount of alcohol.  I then use my nitro tester to see where I am at as far as percentage. 

There are two types of testers: a digital one that sucks up a little fuel into a straw and then tells you what percentage you are at and a manual process where you use a chart, a thermometer, and a hydrometer.  I do it the manual way.  I can usually get within a couple tenths of percent of the 88.0 I am shooting for and then I will fine tune the adjustment from there.  When we go to run the car, we always carry what we call a cutter or chicken juice.  This is two different bottles of 100% alcohol to be able to dump in the tank of the car to knock down the percentage by .25% or .50% depending on what bottle we poor in.  This adjustment is done if the weather conditions or track conditions change significantly from when we leave the trailer up to the point we make our run.

If you recall, in my last blog post, we talked about the size of the fuel pump that we run.  Remember these cars use a lot of fuel.  When we warm the car up in the pits before the run, we use 4-6 gallons of fuel.  Then during the run which is 1000’,  we typically use 12-13 gallons.  Between the warm up and the actual run we will consume a total of a about 17 gallons.  So if anyone is doing the math that means we get about 89.76 gallons per mile.

Have questions about fuel or how we use it? Feel free to send me a tweet at @Kwurtzelracing or comment on this post!