By Hank Dinger
When I arrived at the track this past Saturday I was taken aback at the news that Bob Kopack had passed away. I knew he had been struggling with health issues for some time but only a few days prior to his death someone had said to me that they had seen him and he looked to be doing fairly well. The knowledge that Bob was gone triggered many thoughts of our interactions over the years.
Bob worked for Island Dragway for a long time although not in a steady fashion. Years ago Bob came racing and eventually started to fill in some jobs at the facility. He was like an all-star utility fielder, he could fill in most any position and could handle the job with seeming ease. Open spot in the lanes, send Bob. Need help in tech, send Bob. Need a timing operator, send Bob. Need an announcer, send Bob. He was knowledgeable about all aspects of the sport, was intelligent, personable, versatile, and dependable. Always in control, Bob was a perfect ambassador for the sport and the track.
A city boy who moved to the country, Bob’s interests were expansive. After working the company computer system for Hoffman LaRoche he retired from those tasks, but couldn’t sit still. He spent several years operating a Matco Tools franchise while remaining engaged in many other endeavors. Bob cherished time with his wife and family and counted sled dog and horse shows in his list of things to do. But it always seemed that he returned to auto racing as his favorite past time. From door cars to his back-motored dragster to his daughter’s junior dragster entry, Bob was a car guy extraordinaire.
At one time or another most every entrant ran into Bop in the tech lane. And with all that goes with that job, never once did I hear a complaint about how they were treated or the veracity of the inspection. Bob had a way of getting you to know why things were the way they were, and why the enforcement of the rules was so important. His knowledge and capabilities will surely be greatly missed here at Island.
To Kim and Karry and the rest of the family, sincere condolences on the loss of your husband, father, grandfather and sibling. Take comfort in the knowledge that his suffering has ceased and he is now at rest.
I will remember Bob always and will remember him as one of the best people I have had the pleasure and honor to work with. May your fond memories of Bob sustain you during this difficult time.