Welcome to the BTE Racing Car of the Week series, where we feature our loyal customers and drag racing fans, and the cars (and trucks) they love to race. Today we're featuring Kyle Fritz from Mesa, Arizona, who owns and races a 1989 Pontiac Firebird.
How did you get interested in drag racing?
My father has been a drag racer for 30+ years. I can’t remember a time when I wasn't interested in drag racing! This has truly become my life.
When and where was your first drag race?
I began racing when I was 15 ½. I got my drivers permit and saw that there were no rules saying a 15-year-old couldn’t run in the gambler races on Friday nights. So, my dad and I drove our 2000 Chevy S10 Blazer to the track and I started competing in the high school class at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
What model/year do you race now? Any special features?
I drive a 1989 Pontiac Firebird. My dad bought the car out of a storage unit for $400 on Craigslist. We then spent the next three years building it into the machine that it is today.
Does your car have a nickname?
On the tech card instead of Firebird I write Badbird. I don't believe anyone has noticed, yet.
What's under the hood?
She currently houses a 385 c.i SBC that runs on Torco 112.
Which BTE Racing products do you use in your vehicle?
I am currently using the aftermarket BTE powerglide case, bellhousing and transbrake solenoid!
Why do you use BTE? How has BTE helped you improve your racing?
I use BTE because of their quick customer support and because the quality of product is unmatched. I switched from a cheap transbrake to the aftermarket powerglide case and I will never go back! It’s so much quicker and easier to work with and put in the car.
Describe BTE Racing in 3 words.
Knowledgeable, Long-lasting, Valuable
Who is a drag racer you look up to?
My father without hesitation. We have always been the low-budget guys at the track, making the most out of what we have. Time and time again my dad has risen to the top with multiple track championships, Wally's and even a Division 7 Championship. I'll never forget the memories we have made together. He is the reason I resemble anything of a good racer today.
If money were no object, what would your dream car be?
Love this question. Probably a 1969 or 1970 Camaro that runs Stock.
What is your proudest drag racing moment?
Winning my first Wally. I won it on the day that my mother passed away. Racing Top Bulb in my small-tire 11.00 Firebird. It was the lowest I had ever been and somehow through God's graces we were holding up the trophy at the end.
Why do you race?
I always say “I was bred to drag race” and that’s probably true. There are stories of my mom pulling my dad into the Water-Box while pregnant with me! Sitting in my dad's trailer while he checked the valves. Watching my Pops win a Super Gas championship in front of our entire family. Meeting all of my incredible track family. All of these things are why I race. I feel at home there. When we get to the track, the stresses of everyday life fade away. It becomes us doing what we truly love. Surrounded by the ones that we love. I could never imagine doing anything else.
What is your biggest challenge as a driver?
It is 100% holding myself accountable for the rounds that I lose. It is so easy to get out of the car, look at the time slip and say to yourself that there was nothing else you could do. Or that you executed the round perfectly. When in fact, that is not the case. This era of Bracket Racing has evolved into who can make the least amount of mistakes. Typically any loss is from making a larger mistake than the other guy.
Little more about the car. It was originally never supposed to run quicker than 11.50 but as we were putting the original motor together, we accidentally were using the wrong heads. So we had to buy a set, my dad decided to get a toned-down set for the combination, lo and behold we started out going 10.70's! The car is as bare stock as you can keep it. No tubs, so we run a 10.5 in. tire. Put a Ford 9' in the Rear. Still run all the stock front end stuff. Weighs 3100 Pounds still! Some fun features on the car, it has a one-off custom 1956 Ford truck dash made by Brian Smith. Has electric windows as well!
The car was never supposed to be anything more than a bottom bulb car. Once I got older I decided to take one of my dad's old delay boxes and go Super Pro racing. I got hooked on both bulbs after that.
In 2020 I have One Top Bulb win and Runner up, One Bottom Bulb win and Two Semi Finals. As well as 4 Quarter Finals appearances. I am currently sitting in First place in Pro and Super Pro at Wild Horse Pass with one more race to go on the season.