The Technical Side of Drag Racing: The Fuel Pump

It was really exciting to see how you responded to our first post about the technical side of drag racing. I'd like to continue our fuel tank discussion with a description on how we get the fuel to the motor.

We use a four gear section waterman pump that at 8000 rpms will pump 104 gallons per minute. Thankfully, we only need all of that fuel for a couple of seconds when the motor is getting tugged down as the clutch is locking up. Maintenance of the fuel pump is very important. If it starts flowing less or breaks, the motor is going to blow up.

After every weekend that we race, the pump gets taken completely apart and sometimes we have to replace a gear section or an end plate. Sometimes, major repair is needed and we have to get new housings. After a pump is fresh and ready it usually takes a couple of runs before the fuel flow stays the same. Like most things in this sport you need to have two pumps at all times or a good buddy who will loan you one.

Stay tuned for next week when we talk about fuel mixtures.

The Technical Side of Drag Racing: The Fuel Tank

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone that offered suggestions for the blog on my Facebook page. Please keep them coming and I'll continue to post content that is meaningful to you!

I often get asked about the technical side of the car. The easiest way to talk about that is to start with the front of the car and work our way to the back in other blog posts. This week, I'll discuss the  fuel tank.

I know that many of you will laugh, but I know a couple of tuners who have one particular fuel tank they like and when they switch cars during the year, that tank goes to the new chassis.

My tank holds 15 gallons of fuel. Most tanks will have a baffle to prevent cavitation. During the warm up, we typically burn about 4-5 gallons of fuel and during the run about 12-13. Nitro weighs about 9 pounds per gallon, so it is a heavy liquid. Every time I fill the tank for the run, I always try to put in the same amount of fuel, in order to keep the weight of the car the same.

Next week, we will work our way back to the clutch management system!

Meet Kurtis Ruszkowski, Short Block Specialist

Kurtis Ruszkowski, the short block specialist for Kyle Wurtzel racing is a maintenance mechanic and truck driver for Xtreme Edge Excavating Inc. in Bolingbrook, IL. Kurtis became interested in racing when he and his brother, Andy, worked on the Chicago Fire pro-nostalgia funny car.

Kurtis enjoys the “controlled chaos” at the track that goes along with servicing cars. (This is a plus because things definitely get chaotic!)

Kurtis has many fond memories of racing from a first round win at Bristol with Bruce Litton to his time with Pat Dakin and Leah Pritchett.

We are grateful for Kurtis’ help and continued support!

Meet Phil Stuart, Car Chief

Phil Stuart, car chief for Kyle Wurtzel racing lives in Brantford, Ontario. Originally from Binbrook in Ontario, Canada, Phil is a machinist, welder, and fabricator at Chatterson Fabrication.

Phil became interested in racing after a conversation with his high school guidance counselor. She phoned a local drag racer (Paton Racing) when she realized he had an interest in building race engines and he began volunteering with them. He stayed with them as they moved from an alcohol funny car, to a nitro funny car, to a top fuel dragster.

In 2004, Phil began working for Bruce Litton and has been with him ever since, periodically helping other teams. Phil loves to learn all of the aspects of tuning and assembly and to date, his most memorable experience has been being a part of the 2007 IHRA Top Fuel Championship Team with Bruce Litton. 

Meet Tony Biffer, Left Cylinder Head

Tony Biffer, who runs the left side cylinder head for Kyle is an Automotive Teacher at Waterloo High School in Waterloo, IL.  

Tony has taken a group of students on NHRA field trips in St. Louis through the Army AYES program for many years and was introduced to Kyle by Andy Cacena, another teacher. Tony first worked on Kyle’s car at a race in Grand Bend.

One of Tony’s favorite aspects of being on the crew is getting to know other crew member. “The group of guys were awesome,” Tony says. “I can’t wait until next season so I can hang out with them again.”

Like other crew members, Tony’s most memorable experience was Kyle's NHRA debut in St. Louis this past September.

Thank you to Tony for his dedication to the team!

Meet Brett Konken, Right Cylinder Head

Brett Konken, of Beach Park, IL is in charge of the right side cylinder head for Kyle Wurtzel racing.

In his real life, Brett is an engineering technician responsible for large utility boilers, pumps, air compressors and is involved with utility projects from conception to completion. Like his brother, Jeff, Brett grew interested in motorsports from going to a local dirt track in his youth. In 2006, he worked with T.J. Zizzo’s top fuel team and has worked with four other top fuel teams since.

Brett’s favorite part of being on the crew is as he notes, “the challenge of working quickly, with no mistakes, to ensure the driver has a car that is safe.” Brett would like to also thank Kyle for the opportunity as well as thanking his wife, Sita, for her support.

A big thank you to Brett for his hard work and dedication to the team!

Meet Randy Heintzelman, Clutch Specialist

Randy Heintzelman, from Minooka, IL has been a clutch specialist for Kyle Wurtzel Racing for the past three years.

Though he works in home remodeling, Randy has been interested in racing since his childhood when he learned more about it from a shop teacher. Randy’s favorite part of racing is standing at the starting line just before the car takes off. His most memorable moment? The first time the car broke 300 mph.

A big thank you to Randy for his hard work and support!

Thank you, Dj's Floater Service

A big thank you to Dj's Floater Service for supporting Kyle Wurtzel Racing.  

Dennis Jarrell met Kyle while he was a crew member on Bruce Litton's team. Dennis is a retired engineer who owns a small business in Jackson, Michigan grinding clutch components for several teams. 

We are very grateful to Dennis for his hard work and dedication to the sport!

For more information about Dennis or to learn more about his services, you can find him on Facebook!

Twitter Q & A with Kyle!

Join us on Tuesday, October 28th for a twitter Q&A with Kyle from 7pm to 8 pm EST. 

To participate, simply log on to and follow @kwurtzelracing. 

Tweet your questions with the hashtag, #kylewurtzelracing. Kyle will answer the questions as they come in for that hour only.

We look forward to chatting with you next week!

Meet Clutch Specialist, Jeff Konken

Jeff Konken, a clutch specialist for Kyle Wurtzel Racing, has been working with the crew for the past two years. Jeff is a sub-contractor that laser templates and creates autocad drawings for granite and quartz countertop fabrication from Waterloo, Iowa.

Jeff and his brother, Brett, are both members of the crew and as children, they spent time at a dirt track down the road from their home. A good friend of theirs, Todd McCombs raced there when they were in high school and they both helped out there. According to Jeff, “the opportunity to spend time with my brother on a top fuel race team was definitely something I was interested in doing.”

Jeff most enjoys the people he’s met by being a member of the crew and most importantly, being involved with racing.

Thanks to Jeff for his hard work and dedication to the team!

Goals for the 2015 Racing Season

A lot of people have been asking me what my goals are for the 2015 racing season. As you know, this past season was pivotal with the NHRA debut. I am so thankful for all of the support from my fans and am excited for what's to come. 

In 2015, I plan to race a minimum of five races, and I hope that three of those will be NHRA events. Additionally, my personal goal is to run in 3.84 seconds and to qualify for every NHRA race I go to.

I'm already extremely grateful to my crew and my supporting sponsors, but another goal is to gain some sponsorship for this racing season. If you are interested in sponsoring, or know someone who is, please contact us.

We hope to have more exciting updates soon, so keep checking our site and Facebook page!




The WorldWide Sport of Drag Racing Interactive Interview

Want to participate in an online interview with Kyle Wurtzel? The WorldWide Sport of Drag Racing Facebook page will allow fans to ask questions on an interview comment thread on Thursday, October 9th at 10 p.m. EST.

More details can be found here.

We will also be tweeting live during the interview at @kwurtzelracing. Join us on Twitter and share tweets about the interview using hashtag #kylewurtzelracing.

My NHRA Debut

It’s been two weeks since we made our exceptional NHRA debut! After getting to  St. Louis on Wednesday, Mike Wolfarth and I began to get set up. Thanks to Bobby Lagana, we got everything set up on Thursday and the NHRA told us we were ready to go!

Our goal on Friday was to make two half track passes to continue to work on the fuel curve problem we had. We were able to do this, but had to work through the night on Friday to be able to qualify on Saturday.

Our first run on Saturday went well. I shut it off a little earlier than I should have and we only ran the 4.03 at 259 mph. This put us in 14th place, with the possibility of getting bumped out. In the second run, we ran a 3.91 in 291 mph, which was good enough to get us to 15th place. I knew then that I would be running against Richie Crampton on Sunday. This meant another late night on Saturday to get everything in order for Sunday.

I was elated to find out on Sunday morning that we had won best looking crew and that I would be a part of the driver introductions.

What happened next was a dream come true. Running 310 mph with a 3.91, I was victorious over Richie Crampton. Though we lost the second round to Steve Torrence, it was an amazing weekend and I was happy to have the opportunity to compete.

My family and friends had the opportunity to see me on ESPN2, which was surreal, and it was amazing to see all of the coverage that the NHRA posted.

This was a great end to my racing season. I look forward to sharing more updates with you throughout the winter including our goals for next year, as well as my other personal interests and endeavors!