The well-respected and liked Darrick Dong, who for a quarter of a century was Performance Friction Company’s (PFC) lead troubleshooter for brake systems, has passed away at the age of 69. Anyone working across US single-seater, sportscar or NASCAR paddocks in the past 25 years will likely have come into contact with Dong and benefited from his encyclopedic knowledge of braking science.
Prior to his tenure with PFC, Dong spent 20 years with brake and clutch specialist Tilton Engineering. He was always willing to share his passion and insights, thinking nothing of spending an hour on the phone explaining the intricacies of braking physics to an appreciative journalist, or guiding engineers and drivers as to how best to extract maximum performance from a given setup.
Thanks to the efforts of Dong and his team, PFC netted the Louis H. Schwitzer Award for Engineering Innovation and Excellence at the 2017 Indy 500. The company has credited his no-compromise approach to engineering excellence as being instrumental to PFC’s current standing.
In a statement summing up Dong’s qualities, PFC said, “Steadfast, passionate and a true professional, Darrick’s knowledge of the total braking system has been pivotal to the success of PFC. Darrick’s ability to educate PFC’s customers on how they properly install, tune and personalize their brake packages was truly a gift and something to be cherished. His time and know-how gained at Tilton Engineering, along with the years of experience of working with professional race teams, are the catalysts of what has elevated the PFC Brakes motorsport department to what it is today.”