In 1970, when Pro-Stock class racing appeared, Jake had the opportunity to play with some new equipment for the Hemi engine. He was now allowed to use a tunnel-ram intake with two 4,500 series carburetors and any internal modification he could think of. Jake could build the engine he wanted, so long as it fit under a scooped hood.
The first Pro Stockers were initially built from stock-framed, factory-produced vehicles. There were no tube-chassis cars yet. The cars would run at a weight factor of 7 pounds per cubic inch. That put the Hemi-powered Mopar at just under 3,000 pounds of legal weight. In May of that year, Jake's Hemi powered Ronnie to the top of a 50-car field, winning the Super Stock Nationals with a 9.86 e.t.
After the first two seasons of Pro Stock competition in 1970 and 1971, there was no doubt that the factory hot rod category was a big hit with the fans. But NHRA officials thought that the overwhelming success of the Dodge and Plymouth entries, which had won 12 of the 15 races held during those two years, could hurt the class. Said then-NHRA Competition Director Steve Gibbs, "At the end of 1971, there was no doubt that Chrysler had achieved total domination of Pro Stock racing . . . " In other words, guys like Jake King built an engine that was too good and couldn't be beat. It was after the 1971 season that Jake's talents were officially recognized, when he received the Car Craft All-Star Racing Team Mechanic of the Year Award.
For the next few years, Jake continued to be the engine man behind the team until 1976. That's the year when someone broke into the Sox & Martin facilities, stole just about everything, and then set fire to the shop. After that, the members of the Sox & Martin team simply parted ways. A short time after the team disbanded, Jake rekindled his desire to open his own automotive repair shop. He opened his small, two-bay garage Gulf service center in Burlington, North Carolina, and spent the next several years happily running his garage and spending time with his family. It was in June 1995 that Jake was recognized and inducted into the Super Stock Magazine Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for us, on July 15 of that same year, the racing world lost a great wrench and person, as he passed while sleeping.
In October 2006, Jake's accomplishments were once again recognized when he was posthumously inducted as a member of the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in Henderson, North Carolina. He was also named as the recipient of the Inaugural Ronnie Sox Memorial Award. Jake King was a perfectionist, a true legend in drag racing, and forever a friend to all he met.
After the Sox & Martin team...
After the Sox & Martin team parted ways, Jake rekindled his desire to start his own garage. This picture was taken just a short time before his passing.
Pictured is Jake's former...
Pictured is Jake's former office. It's no secret that the Sox & Martin shop worked on customers' cars, as evidenced by the Dodge in the background.