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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Not Once, But Twice

By Don Roberts

Don Roberts went out of his way to drive Kosty Ivanof's Boston Shaker Funny Car. Photo thanks to Don Roberts
Don Roberts went out of his way to drive Kosty Ivanof's
Boston Shaker Funny Car. Photo thanks to Don Roberts

How badly did I want to drive, anything, anytime, anywhere???

Although Kosty Ivanof is longer with us, here's a short story of some of my escapades when I drove this car for him. Kosty tore up a lot of equipment in 1971 & 72. Two cars and lots of motor parts. His wife Diane put her foot down and said, "No more driving." He had Terry Hedrick in there for a while, and Al Segrini after that. After Segrini got out, I got in between dragster races.

A week before the 1973 U.S. Nationals, we raced in Richmond. After the race, he decided to stay at Tom & Jerry's and hang out with Harlan Thompson and get the car ready to go to Indy. He put me on a plane back to Boston and said, "I want you at Indy next week to drive." OK, I said.

Got to Indy Thursday night and got over to the track first thing Friday morning. I start looking around for Ivanof and I can't find him. I asked everyone where he was parked and nobody had seen him. I walk around Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- no Ivanof. I call Richmond; they don't know where he is. Bottom line: he decided not to go at the last minute but never sent word with anyone to let me know. When he got back to Boston, he called me, said everything was all screwed up, and he ran out of money.

Fast forward to November, World Finals, Ontario, California. A week before the race I get a call... "DR, I'm at Black's getting some fresh parts and I want you to come out to California and drive the car at the Finals race." I say, "Ivanof, you little SOB, you stiffed me at Indy; why should I believe you now?" He said, "Trust me; I need you out here." Trust me... Hmmmmmmm.

OK, I get to LAX, get a car, and go over to Black's. Ivanof takes me in the trailer and says, "There has been a change. My wife says it's OK that I drive and I'm going to drive this race, but you can come over to the track and help me, right?" Wrong... Trust me, I'm outta here. Hung around LA for a few days and went home. Never went to the race.

How bad did I want to drive? Both of those trips were on my nickel.

But I still liked Ivanof, as crazy as it may sound. When he was good he was right on, but damn, he had his moments when the entire world wanted to kill him.

I drove a second car for him at one race the following year, the Funny Car Nationals at Epping. Why? It was only an hour from my house and I couldn't get stiffed on that one.

Rest in peace you little SOB... and stop trying to stiff God on some car deal!

Don Roberts
topfuel169@aol.com

 

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