When you're good, people notice....
When you're good, people notice. In 1971, companies were just beginning to see the benefits of sponsoring race cars. The image on the right was taken in 1971 for an ad supporting Champion spark plugs (left). In the ad, they asked if Jake used Champion spark plugs. His reply, "who told you that?"
In 1967, the team would leave the ranks of A/FX/Funny car racing to dominate the Super Stock class, and Jake was again entrusted to build the Hemi power for the team's cars. This would again put Jake in front of carbureted Hemi engines. This was the year that Ronnie's '67 Hemi Belvedere ran an 11.02 at the NHRA Springnationals. At the time, the National Record was an 11.63. Once again, Jake and his Hemi was able to power the Sox team on to ever-growing legendary status. It was becoming apparent that it didn't matter what kind of engine you put in front of Jake, he made it go fast. "Jake was a perfectionist," recalled the late Ronnie Sox at one time. "He was very laid back, very quiet. He would not put a motor together unless it was the absolute best he could do, and he would take his time." Coupled with Ronnie's driving, the meticulous preparation of a Jake King Hemi made the Sox & Martin team a dominant force for close to ten years.
In 1968, The Sox team received a new-for-'68 Hemi-powered Barracuda. These purpose-built machines gave the Sox & Martin team an entirely new platform to work with. At the first event of the 1968 year, the NHRA Springnationals at Englishtown, New Jersey, the team's Barracuda, with a Jake King-prepped Hemi, ran 10.30s right off the trailer. This was almost 6/10 second quicker than the national record in SS/B-class racing. During a later interview, when asked about his contributions to the dominant Sox & Martin team, Jake's reply was simply, "I think it's more up to Ronnie than anyone else-I couldn't do what he's doing." As a testament to his character, Jake would always offer his best for the team and recognize the accomplishments as a team.
In the early '70s, the Sox & Martin team even had a 440-powered Super Bird that was driven by Joe Fisher. In May 1970 at Suffolk County Raceway, the car ran in the low 11s. That's impressive when you consider that Jake had his hands tied fairly tight in regards to engine rules and allowances. For starters, he was not allowed to do any boring of the cylinders, only standard practice blueprinting was allowed. The engine had to remain the stock cubic inch displacement. He could, however, change the camshaft but was very limited in his choices at the time. In regards to carburetion, it had to be a factory available unit for the car. To say he was able to make power while his hands were tied is an understatement.
Usually, a weekend at the...
Usually, a weekend at the races was nothing but serious. In this rare family photo, Jake takes some time out to let loose. Our guess is that he was trying to figure out how to get a Hemi in his Radio Flyer.
Herb McCandless and Buddy Martin tell of a funny story about Jake that took place sometime around 1968, when Jake and Ronnie were travelling back east from a west coast event. It seems that Ronnie was driving the hauler, and Jake decided to get some sleep in the back of the truck. As soon as he got to the back of the truck, he removed his pants and shirt in order to get comfortable and was sleeping in just his underwear. The story goes that somewhere around New Mexico nature called on Ronnie, so he stopped along the side of the road. After a short time (it was really cold out), he walked around the truck to get back in and continue driving. As he was returning to the driver side of the truck, Jake awoke and decided that he too needed to step out of the truck. So, as Ronnie walked around the front of the truck, Jake got out of the passenger side of the truck as Ronnie got in and pulled away. There stood Jake along the side of the road half naked. A short time later, fellow racer Pee Wee Wallace picked Jake up and they caught up with Ronnie in the next town-about 25 miles down the road. Jake ducked down in the seat as Pee Wee pulled up beside Ronnie at a red light. He asked Ronnie, "Are you traveling alone?" Ronnie said, "No, Jake's in the back asleep." Pee Wee said, "I don't see him." That's when Ronnie turned around and saw that Jake was gone. After a short time, Jake sat up in the seat of Pee Wee's truck, and they all had a good laugh.