I wrote this for the awards ceremony at the Second Annual South East Outlaw Nostalgia Pro Stock Don Carlton Race. I didn't want to write the same things about Ronnie everyone else always has so this is a little different from what you have read before so I think you will find it quite interesting.
Ronnie Sox lived a fairy tale life in many ways! Every person in drag racing all over the world knows his name as well as his accomplishments in our sport…from meager beginnings at his Dad’s gas station to being the winningest (legal) Pro Stock driver in history. This includes him being a member of the USA Drag Racing Team to winning their national event in England! But here are some things you may NOT know.
Before Chrysler dropped the hammer on all the Mopar guys (thanks to NHRA) and pulled the bottom out of everything, Sox & Martin was REALLY big! They were like rock stars when they pulled into a track especially in the north from New York to Ohio. They couldn’t move for all the fans surrounding them as soon as they came through the gates…it was unbelievable!
People were taking pictures and wanting autographs. They loved Ronnie because he took time with them…he would NEVER turn down anyone or turn away from a fan…from talking to them and spending time with them to whatever else they wanted. Ronnie’s brother David said, “We would be working on the car…in a hurry to get ready for the next round…and he would have a fan, a stranger, holding up the end of the transmission or handing him a rag or a tool or doing something else. He made THEM feel important, too! He really made those guys happy. He was so good at dealing with people and HE loved it as much as they did! That is why he was always so popular and well loved!”
In those days, guys not only built their own cars, they did their own R&D and fixed them when they broke….making their parts most of the time! Unlike today, performance parts were hard to come by and if they wanted to race, they HAD to make do with their own ingenuity. Sometimes, just getting to a race was their biggest challenge!
It was a VERY EXCITING time for everyone who raced. It might take 30 to 40 runs to just figure how best to make a car run the way it should. Ronnie Sox lived, ate, breathed and slept drag racing! (Except when he was fishing or golfing!) He was always coming up with better ways to make ALL his car run better, straighter, faster…the secret to his successes.
I say ‘successes’ because there were SO MANY, books have been written about them! He even made sure people who bought his cars were successful, too…even when they were his competition! His secret to winning so many match races at so many dinky little tracks was he literally set his suspension up for each track as soon as he got there!
To quote a good friend we call simply Dino, “Ronnie Sox’ greatest accomplishment of all was he instilled in the heart of every fan who ever watched him race the desire to want to be a drag racer just like him by the way he conducted himself personally.” Long live the memory of Ronnie Sox and the things he did for our sport!