Today Pro Stock chassis science...
Today Pro Stock chassis science teaches us that wheelstands should be avoided as wasted motion, but in 1970, they were both entertaining and a means of transferring weight and increased traction to the rear tires. Here, Sox performs a perfectly executed, wheels-up launch in the '70 'Cuda.
Ronnie leaves the line at...
Ronnie leaves the line at the NHRA Springnationals, 1968, in Englishtown, New Jersey, in the famed '68 Barracuda of Sox & Martin. Note the relatively small diameter header collector. Drag tire engineering hadn't caught up with the 426 Hemi's power-making abilities, and sharp engine builders and tuners such as Jake King used lots of tricks to prevent low-end tire spin.
Sox & Martin's Plymouth Omni...
Sox & Martin's Plymouth Omni leaves the burnout box during the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Florida. These short Hemi-powered Pro Stockers were a handful to drive and proved fatal to a few drivers. Ronnie warms the Goodyears before making another 7-second, 190-plus-mph run.
The new '68 Sox & Martin Hemi Barracuda, capably shoed by Ronnie Sox, was an immediate 10-second winner that kept getting quicker and faster as the team moved its development forward. Now the flagship team for Chrysler's drag racing program, S&M raced, did clinics, and tested hard on their rare off days. It was an all-out, total-war effort intended to dominate in any theatre. S&M clinic appearances were often scheduled for the same weekend as a major event or one of the points meets staged across the country. the team often brought diverse cars, such as their Hemi-powered Road Runner, a 440 wedge B-block-powered GTX, and a Hemi-powered Plymouth Super Bird with the NASCAR-style rear wing. Regardless of body style, any car trimmed in the Sox & Martin colors flat hauled the mail.
Not only did these cars excel in NHRA Super Stock Eliminator, they were also fast in match race trim. This phenomenon grew out of the Chrysler, Ford, and GM drivers' dislike for handicap-style racing and disqualifying break outs for going too fast. They preferred heads-up starts and basic run-whatcha-brung rules. Curiously, most of this was a throwback to the early Funny Car days and the Match Race Mania so loved by tracks and fans.
The Hemi Barracudas and Darts were right at home in these heads-up events and match races. It was this popularity that brought both NHRA and AHRA to offer Pro Stock heads-up racing, beginning with both association's '70 winter meets. Bill Jenkins, always one of S&M's toughest competitors, had a head start on the field by running numerous heads-up events and match races with a two-four carbed, Tunnel-Rammed 427 Camaro running at lighter weight. He dominated the Pro Stock events in early 1970, taking AHRA and NHRA races and the NHRA Gatornationals in March. S&M quickly caught up and dominated the rest of the season. This run-the-table sweep included a team win by Herb McCandless in the Sox & Martin Plymouth Hemi Duster at the Nationals. S&M won every remaining NHRA Pro Stock event that year.
They opened the '71 season where they left off in 1970, winning all the way to midyear in 1971, when they lost at the NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey. The formidable S&M team wasn't outrun at that race, but fell to an untimely flat tire just as they were moving towards the starting line during eliminations.