Dart Machinery Founder Richard Maskin Has Passed Away

Dart Machinery’s Founder Richard Maskin Has Passed Away

The engine building industry lost another great member of its community this past weekend when Dart Machinery announced that its founder Richard Maskin had passed away at the age of 74 on October 16.
He was an innovator in motorsports, a fierce competitor, a good friend to many, and a generous and respected employer. Richard will be missed immensely, but he leaves behind a legacy that spans decades and can’t be put into just a few words.

“We do take solace in knowing that his contribution to racing will continue with every Big M engine block that finds a home under someone’s hood,” said a social media post put out by Dart Machinery over the weekend. “He is the namesake, the original and the one and only ‘Big M’.”

Many of America’s most successful companies can trace their roots to basements, tool sheds and spare bedrooms. Like Hewlett-Packard, Boeing and Apple Computer, Dart Machinery began in humble surroundings. Maskin founded Dart in 1981 in a two-car garage in Oak Park, MI. In the may years since, Dart has become a leader in aftermarket cylinder heads, intake manifolds and engine blocks.

Maskin is well-known to drag racing fans as a mechanical mastermind whose engines have won multiple NHRA Pro Stock world championships and dozens of national events. Like many successful entrepreneurs, Maskin turned his passion for drag racing into a thriving enterprise. The seeds were planted when Maskin competed with a variety of drag racing machines ranging from Modified Production Camaros to Pro Stock Gremlins. He developed raised intake runners, offset pushrods and sheet-metal intake manifolds for his innovative Pro Stock engines in the mid-‘70s – breakthroughs that were quickly imitated by rival racers. Eventually, Maskin learned how to produce complete cylinder heads from scratch. This hands-on experience laid the foundation for Dart Machinery.

The company’s first products were aluminum Hemi cylinder heads that dominated the Top Fuel and Funny car categories. These purpose-built heads provided the power that ultimately broke drag racing’s 300 mph barrier and produced the first four-second Funny Car elapsed time. Maskin’s Pro Stock roots were evident in the Race Series heads for big block Chevrolet V8s that soon followed. In recent years, Dart’s spread-port Big Chief heads have set the standard in classes ranging from Pro Street to Pro Mod. This tradition of innovation continued with the introduction of affordable Iron Eagle and PRO 1 cylinder heads for small block and big block Chevy V8s, followed by aluminum and cast iron engine blocks designed to meet the specialized needs of racers and performance enthusiasts. The company has since expanded its product line to include small block Ford and Honda components too.

All of Dart’s development, machining and assembly are done at Dart’s own facilities in order to maintain the highest standards of quality. State of the art CNC machining centers, a computer controlled dynamometer and the proprietary “Speed Flow” technology / wet flow bench are among the assets which contribute to “the Dart advantage.”

Maskin kept current with continuous advances in racing technology through Dart’s engine development program. Dart also supports the sport as a Major Contingency Sponsor with several national sanctioning bodies. “Our engine program and our daily interaction with leading engine builders and winning racers keeps Dart on the leading edge of technology,” Maskin once said. “We apply everything we learn to produce more powerful and more reliable parts for Dart customers.”

Those efforts are what has made Dart a leader in producing race-winning components, and among the many reasons why Richard will be sorely missed in this industry.

You May Also Like

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Releases 2025 Speedweeks Schedule

The three-track slate starts at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, GA with on-track action at the speedway from January 14-18.

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has released the schedule for its 2025 Speedweeks. The three-track slate starts at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, GA with on-track action at the speedway from January 14-18, culminating in a $25,000-to-win finale on January 18.

From there, the tour will head south to All-Tech Raceway in Lake City, FL, which will host three nights of racing from January 30 through February 1.

Haltech, Race Winning Brands Add Support in Australia

Race Winning Brands has appointed Aaron Brookes as Haltech’s new business development manager in Australia.

Ferrari Wins Back-to-Back 24 Hours of Le Mans

The No. 50 Ferrari beat the No. 7 Toyota to the finish line by 14 seconds after 24 hours of racing.

AAM Group Hires David Garmenn to Lead Engine Pro Group

The Johnson City, TN-based distribution group has selected David Garmenn to serve as president of Engine Pro Group and vice president of Engine Pro.

Reno Fernley Raceway to Reopen

In addition to the 3/8-mile clay oval, the 630-acre facility will also host road racing, motocross events, drag racing, a UTV short course, and more.

Other Posts

Skip Barber Formula iRacing Series Returns

The five-round championship will begin in July and feature drivers competing in iRacing’s Formula 4 car for a prize pool valued at more than $500,000.

Blackstone-NEY Ultrasonics to Show Multi-Frequency System at IMTS

The Multi-Frequency Ultrasonic Cleaning System utilizes advanced technology to deliver superior cleaning results without compromising on quality.

Firepunk Diesel Race Team Sets New Pro Mod Records

Firepunk Diesel’s 1970 Duster is now quickest and fastest with an ET of 4.101 and a recorded 194.41 mph.

Rottler and Pat Musi Team Up on Innovation

Goals of the innovation project include reducing time and labor costs while improving the build quality, and developing new engineering and machining techniques.