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
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
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