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Darian K. Grubb '98

(From Left) Shane van Gisbergen and Crew Chief Darian K. Grubb after winning the 2023 Chicago Street Race, van Gisbergen’s first NASCAR Cup Series.
(From Left) Shane van Gisbergen and Crew Chief Darian K. Grubb after winning the 2023 Chicago Street Race, van Gisbergen’s first NASCAR Cup Series. Photo courtesy of Daylon Barr Photography.

Darian K. Grubb

Class of '98
Director of Performance at Trackhouse Racing

As the director of performance, I get to work in every aspect of motorsports performance engineering, including vehicle dynamics, simulation, aerodynamics/computational fluid dynamics, design, testing, statistics, data analysis, software development, strategy, machine learning/AI, and personnel development — just to name a few. I also get to travel and race through a 36+ race event season in NASCAR. 

As a mechanical engineering undergraduate, I worked on the Baja SAE team and raced on the weekends. After graduation, I took a job in industry for a period, while continuing the hobby of racing. In 2000, I got offered a career change that allowed me to convert my hobby into a full-time career! I've since worked with many great people, and won many races, along with championships, as an engineer and crew chief. I still enjoy going to work and facing new challenges every day, with an incredible team around me. 

I live in Mooresville, North Carolina, with my active son (age 14) and daughter (age 11). My hobbies include exploring the outdoors, mountain biking, riding my ATV, completing DIY projects, and tinkering with classic cars.

How did the College of Engineering equip you for the “real world”? 
The biggest lessons I learned were:

  1. Hard work pays off.
  2. While working within a team, use each individual's strengths to achieve a common goal.

What is a guiding principle for your work? 
Servant leadership — work together as a team to accomplish goals. There are way too many variables for one “expert” individual to be successful when competing against a great team with a solid work ethic.

What advice would you share with your college self? 
Take a few moments and enjoy your younger years while in college. The real-world responsibilities come fast enough on their own.

Why is giving back (time, talent, or treasure) to Virginia Tech important to you? 
I want to help the next generation of Hokies grow and make an impact through mentorship. I’d love to expand helping fellow Hokies follow their passions, especially programs that operate through the Ware Lab.

My fondest memories from my time in the college are... 
Late nights in the Ware Lab and road trips to Baja SAE competitions with a great team of friends. Trips included SAE-East in Cookeville, Tennessee, and SAE-Midwest in Aztalan, Wisconsin. My favorite, yet most bittersweet, memory from traveling to competitions would be getting so close to the overall win in Wisconsin but finishing second.

What was a project that you worked on while at Virginia Tech? 
With Baja SAE and Formula SAE, we were tasked with building the fastest, lightest, most durable machines to outperform other college programs. Although I was responsible for a lot of different areas in the project, I mostly focused on welding the chassis and individual components.

The hands-on learning and team dynamic atmosphere are lessons that I’ve taken with me through adulthood and into my professional career.


B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1998