Thanks for the warm welcome, everybody! I really miss the floppers of the 70's,with their Kirby/Youngblood(or maybe Nat Quick) paint schemes,the Lil John Buttera chassis and the Ed Pink/Keith Black engines! I actually see Al Segrini ,of Black Magic fame once in awhile.Man,talk about the charmed life.He tells about being shuttled here and there in the Faberge private corporate jet,and just what it meant to be a super shoe back then.The late Kosty Ivanoff was really a kind and generous man.He had a garage in the suburbs,and let Larry keep the Trojan Horse there for awhile,sort of an "Eastern retreat".
Another great memory was ,after match racing in Epping,NH on a hot August,1973 Wednesday night,Larry and Kevin wanted to see a bit of Boston,so they jumped into the truck and followed my buddy Paul and I to his house in Wellesley,MA,(a fashionable suburb).They stayed there overnight,and awakened to a fantastic breakfast cooked by Paul's late mother(rest her soul) You would have thought they hadn't eaten for weeks,the way the food was devoured.(Funniest sight,Kevin Doheny mopping up egg yolk with a jelly doughnut-LOL!) Anyhow,after breakfast,Larry decided to give the neighborhood kids a thrill and brought the Trojan Horse out to show,and,yes,he fired the sucker up to the amazement of the dozen or so neighbors!! I can still see childrens ear to ear grins as they clamped their hands over their ears.
Larry was a one of a kind,a true free spirit,if you will.He was very much a kid at heart. He was fun loving,sincere,and most of all, a caring individual.He made you feel special,with his enthusiastic greeting,often using a nick name he gave you .It was a pleasure working for him,as he was a laid back dude,never ordering you to do something,always asking.It made you want to give 1000 percent.Outside of assisting removing aluminum panels(thank God for Dzus fasteners!)engine parts (if there was a problem),my job was largely to fold the chute,and change the oil between rounds,removing the oil pan,carefully checking for fragments within the scalding hot,cooked yellow oil .Then,it was put the pan on,torque it correctly,change the filter,and fill her up again with fresh Amalie,or Quaker State.Prior to this,I would drain the now steaming water from the engine,turning the valves in front of each head to release,and then refill with fresh water before the next run.I would also siphon the remaining fuel from the tank,which,when I say I developed a taste for Nitro,I'm not kidding!Then,we had a starting line "ritual".When it came time to stage,I would remove the tow line,affix the starter,the engine was primed,Larry would spin the engine, then I'd hit the starter switch and,BROOOOOOM,the engine roared to life.I would then remove the starter,throw it in the tow car,and properly lower the body,insuring that the glass Mustang body would not lift at speed. Then,bleach was poured,and the near 1/8th mile burnout would wow the crowd.I would stand in front of the car,and back Larry into his tracks,being guided by his beautiful Texas born girlfriend,Emile,who was behind the car,making sure we were matching the footprint of the tires .Then,slowly,but surely, I would guide Larry to the staging lights first one then the other.Finally,I would get on all fours and check for leaks.It's critical that I gave him the thumbs up,as any liquid (especially Oil) in front of the tires could prove to be disastrous...The sweet smell of Nitro worked its way into my brain,while the exhaust and tire smoke causes heavy watering of the eyes.Ah,yes,these memories are precious,and for a young man of 21,it was the most exciting time of my life!