Racing Legend, Ronnie Sox, Passes on.
I don't know if any of the younger generation knows of Ronnie Sox, but he was a huge racing legend back in the sixties and seventies. If you were any bit of a drag race fan then you knew of The Sox and Martin team. The team tore up the strips from North Carolina to California with their Chryslers.
Ronnie was a home town boy here in Burlington North Carolina. The gas station that he once ran and tuned his cars in still stands across from the Putt Putt Golf coarse on North Church Street. The station sat vacant for years and is now an automotive detail shop. I wonder if the shop owners have any clue that the Man, so famous in racing, headed such huge success from those walls. Building those cars that were so dominant that in the early '70s, the National Hot Rod Association made them carry more weight than the Fords and Chevys they competed with. Didn't help the competition much though as Ronnie and his partner, Buddy Martin who ran the business end just kept pounding the competition week after week. Soxs' lightening fast shifts with his manual four-speed transmission could even out shift the automatics. I have a tape showing him from an inside view as he stages and then burst forth down the track. Wearing his open face white helmet and just slamming through the gears ultra quick. He was so quick that it was like he was only snapping his fingers.
His son, Dean, and himself later developed one of the largest racing operations on the East Coast which was headed right here in Burlington. Let's put it this way; they were to Drag racing as Richard Petty was to Nascar Winston Cup. Ronnie loved his fans as much as Richard loves his own.
Ronnie, with his long blond hair and red white and blue Racers will forever be embedded in the history of Drag Racing memories of those who remember. Even though his small museum which was located in Alamance before closing, shuttered its doors a few years back. I cherish my email msg from him with an invite before they closed. I only wish I had gone.
Ronnie Sox lost his battle, at age 67, to cancer on Saturday Night 4/22/06 . Rich and Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service in Graham North Carolina is in charge of the arrangements, which are incomplete.