Remembering Ronnie Sox
By Diane Sox
It is with great sadness I must report the passing of my husband, Ronnie Sox. Ronnie was, in the minds of many, the greatest drag racer in the history of the sport. His following and his fan base, even to this day, was a testament to his success, both on and off the drag strip. Even though not actively involved in NHRA Drag Racing for many years, the legion of fans that flocked to see him at appearances was gratifying to all of us, and made his last days much easier. Up until the last hours, he was amazed and humbled by the response, and well wishes of the people he had influenced over the years.
His racing career spanned periods of six decades, beginning in the mid fifties, driving an Oldsmobile out of his father’s service station in Greensboro, North Carolina. Over that period of time, his success included all major automotive makes, although the bulk of his success came in Chrysler products. His success record during the time of drag racing’s phenomenal growth was incredible, and the Sox and Martin team set the standard in performance, appearance, and just plain class. The cars were flawless in preparation, the crews were professional in appearance, and the following was incredible. After being on the cutting edge of the birth of the Funny Car, Ronnie led Chrysler’s charge back into the focus into more traditional type stock bodied race cars. Touring Chrysler Plymouth dealers around the country, with a clinic program to teach customers how to get the most out of the performance of their cars, they dominated the late sixties. As the gasoline burning cars evolved from cars fitting into different classes into a heads up Pro Stock concept, Ronnie was so dominant that the rules were changed specifically to end his dominance.
Ronnie continued to dominate throughout the early seventies, until the rules makers made it extremely difficult to win with a Chrysler product. He went on the "outlaw" match race circuit, and remained semi retired until 1981, when he came out of retirement to win the IHRA National Championship, this time in a Ford. He teamed again with old teammate Buddy Martin for a couple of IHRA Ford Pro Stockers in the late eighties, until a racing accident ended his full time career. He was involved with Chrysler’s Pro Stock truck effort in the nineties, and when Chrysler resurrected the Hemi Ronnie was back in the saddle again, this time with a reincarnation of his most famous race car, his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda. With its reintroduction, the fans came with it, and he was in demand for Nostalgia appearances throughout the country. His schedule was quite full, and he regretted not being able to fulfill all the requests.
He honestly did not realize how many fans he has, and the support and love shown from people all over the country was of great comfort to him. If you could have seen him light up upon receiving the cards, letters, and emails from you, his fans, I am sure you would be comforted, too. For that, I am grateful.
I would like to thank all of you for the support and love shown us over the past couple of years, rough as they have been. They would have been much rougher, without you, his fans. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and ask God to bless you all.
Please know that Ronnie loved you all back, and we ask that you remember him as he was in his heyday. I also ask that the example of his class, and his attributes as a person, lives on in each of you.
God Bless you all,