Kettering student brings years of drag-racing experience to university

Andre Dusek ‘22 might be a national champion powerlifter, but his real love is for cars.

The Mechanical Engineering student started at Kettering University in October with a lot of practical experience with engines.

He started rebuilding his first car—a Honda Civic—at age 14 and eventually turned it into a drag racing car with a 500 horsepower turbocharged engine. This summer, he finished rebuilding a 1986 Mazda RX-7 with a turbocharged 4.8-liter engine as a new drag-racing car.

“I love cars, love to race,” he said.

Dusek heard about Kettering while he was in middle school from family friends who live in Fenton. He met alumni through competitive truck pulling in his hometown of River Falls, Wisconsin. They worked at Bosch Motorsport and eventually started S&S Diesel Motorsport, where he’s doing his co-op.

The co-op program at Kettering caught Dusek’s attention and drew him to leave his home state to attend. The small-school feel was a plus as he likes that he has professors who know him by name rather than large lecture classes taught by teaching assistants.

Andre Dusek '22 squats 683 pounds.

Dusek brings a unique athletic background to Kettering. He won his weight class at the powerlifting national meet during his freshman and sophomore years, then finished second in his weight class during his junior and senior years.

He started powerlifting in eighth grade after seeing his sister compete. And, he said, there wasn’t much running. The sport involves competitive lifts in the squat, bench and deadlift. Athletes get three attempts at each weight.

Success in the sport allowed him to travel to Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas, which he enjoyed.

Although Dusek had the opportunity to qualify for the world meet, he was burned out after more than two years of lifting without significant breaks. It was also time to turn his attention to Kettering and adjusting from high school to college life.

So far, he likes Kettering. The university is about the same size as his high school, but the smaller size offers opportunities.

“It’s cool to see how close people are,” he said.

Dusek accepted a bid from Sigma Chi fraternity, something he didn’t expect he’d do. He’s also involved with Formula SAE and the Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

In Formula SAE, Dusek will help with the fabrication and welding of the chassis and other things on the car, and he’d like to get into powertrain and work on the engine systems and calibration.

“I like how they let us apply what we learn from school and from our co-ops to something real and competitive,” he said. “It’s also fun to do and get away from some of the stresses of school.”

As for powerlifting, Dusek would like to work it back in as he gets settled at Kettering.

In the future, Dusek’s goal is to get a job working for SpaceX.

“That’s where I think the future is,” he said. “I would love to work on propulsion systems, I like rocket engines and would like to help design them for space travel.”

Written By Lindsay Knake | Contact: Lindsay Knake - - (810) 762-9639