Courtesy Thomas Pope, Fayetteville Observer
Buddy Martin, along with his late former driver Ronnie Sox, is to be inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville Oct. 6. They are the first drag racers to be enshrined in the hall dominated by NASCAR racers.
Former NASCAR Cup driver Donnie Allison, whose older brother Bobby was the hall’s second inductee in 1998, also will be inducted this year.
The Sox & Martin cars were among the most successful in drag racing in the 1960s and ’70s. Based in Burlington, N.C., the team — with Martin as the manager, Sox as the driver, and Jake King as the crew chief — won five national championships. In 1970, Sox captured four of the six NHRA national events, and he won six of eight NHRA meets the following year.
Their early success was in the Super Stock ranks, where Sox’s skill earned him the nickname “Mr. 4-Speed.” He and Martin were pioneers who helped convince NHRA to form the Pro Stock class in 1970.
“This is a pretty big honor for us because we’re the first drag racers” in the Mooresville hall, Martin, 79, said Tuesday. “We’ve been very, very blessed. ...
“I just wish Ronnie and Jake could be here to see and enjoy this. I’m appreciating the recognition every day and the fact that people remember us.”
Sox, who was No. 15 on NHRA’s all-time top 50 drivers lists, died in 2006 after a long bout with cancer. King died in 1995, Martin said.
The Sox & Martin team has also been inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Florida, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America near Detroit, which is relocating to Daytona International Speedway.
N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees
1997 — Richard Petty
1998 — Bobby Allison
1999 — Tim Flock
2000 — Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr.
2001 — Ned Jarrett
2002 — Cale Yarborough
2003 — Ralph Moody Jr.
2004 — Dale Earnhardt
2005 — David Pearson
2006 — Darrell Waltrip
2007 — Buddy Baker
2008 — Benny Parsons
2009 — A.J. Foyt
2011 — Rusty Wallace
2012 — Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, Fred Lorenzen
2014 — Lee Petty, Harry Gant
2015 — Sox & Martin, Donnie Allison
Hubert Platt, an early NHRA star in the Super Stock and Factory Experimental classes, died Sept. 26 of cancer. He was 83.
After campaigning a series of Chevy-powered gassers, he switched to Super Stock in 1962 and was a teammate of “Dyno Don” Nicholson, who ran out of the Nalley Chevrolet dealership. When Chevy pulled out of racing in 1963, Platt moved to Ford. He followed his Georgia Shaker 427-cid Fairlane Thunderbolt with a series of altered-wheelbase entries, including his famed wheelstanding 427-cid Falcon.
Few racers could match Platt’s acumen for showmanship. One night in 1966 after wiping out the front ends of his Falcon and extended-wheelbase Mustang at Lions Dragstrip, Platt got on the P.A. and told the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, I broke both of my race cars just for you. If I had a third one, I’d have broken that one, too!”
A series of tube-framed, fiberglass-bodied Mustang Funny Cars produced numerous wins and record performances, and he returned to Super Stock competition when he conducted the popular Eastern Ford Performance Clinics.
Platt switched in 1970 to Pro Stock, in which he competed until his retirement from racing in 1977. He is a member of several drag racing halls of fame and has served as grand marshal at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac in Atlanta.
Platt has received numerous honors including induction into the NHRA Division 2 Hall of Fame and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. He was an honoree at NHRA’s National Hot Rod Reunion in 2006. recipient of the NHRA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Platt is survived by his wife, Linda, and his children, Hubert Jr., Allen and Lynette.
NHRA has been informed that veteran Super Comp racer Michael Musgrove, 59, of Foley, Mo., passed away this morning. Musgrove had been transported from the track by ambulance after falling ill in his pit area. NHRA sends its deepest sympathies to Musgrove’s family and friends.
Just one day after kicking off the 2015 Countdown to the Championship with a convincing victory at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, reigning Pro Stock world champion and points leader Erica Enders and her Elite Motorsports race team have announced a major associate sponsorship deal with Transportation Impact.
The privately-held logistics company specializes in helping some of the largest companies in the world drastically reduce their shipping costs. Transportation Impact, an Inc. 5000 company based in North Carolina, was founded in 2008 by Keith Byrd and Travis Burt and has quickly earned a reputation as one of the top small-package negotiation and parcel-auditing firms in the shipping industry.
"We are excited to team up with Erica and the Elite Motorsports team," Transportation Impact Co-Founder Travis Burt said. "Both our team and theirs have a championship mentality. We both work hard each day to be better than we were yesterday, and we at Transportation Impact have little doubt that this partnership will help both sides reach new heights."
Elite Motorsports owner Richard Freeman, who spearheaded Enders' ascension to becoming the first female champion in Pro Stock history, is thrilled to sign a long-term deal with Transportation Impact that he believes will help his team achieve its future objectives.
Standing, from left, are Berkley Stafford, Vice President of Sales; John Howard, Vice President of Operations; Travis Burt, Principal Partner/Co-Founder; Doug Starcke, Managing Partner; and Pete Merkel, Inertia Sports Marketing. Seated, from left, are Keith Byrd, Principal Partner/Co-Founder; Richard Freeman, Owner, Elite Motorsports; Erica Enders; and Harper Lee, Corporate Sales.
"I'm humbled and grateful that everyone at Transportation Impact thought enough of what we're doing to come on board and give us some tremendous support," Freeman said. "Since Erica joined us a year and a half ago, we've won the championship, we've won 13 national events, including the last three in a row, been No. 1 qualifier 11 times, and put up an 89-28 race day record. That's better than anyone in the sport and we're proud of what we've accomplished.
"At the same time, we feel like we want to do so much more, and having companies like Transportation Impact lend support will help us reach all of our long-range goals. We are firing this deal up right now so they can ride with us to what we hope will be a successful championship defense."
Enders admits she's riding high at the moment, and having a new sponsor recognize the team's potential adds a lot to her current situation, on many levels.
"It's been an incredible month and having Transportation Impact come on board today just makes it that much better," she said. "We scored a really big win in Brainerd (Minn.), and that kind of set up this run we're on. Then we get to Indy, the biggest race in our sport, and we get another win that ties me with my No. 1 idol, Shirley Muldowney, with 18 career wins. Now we come to North Carolina and get another win to kick off the playoffs and sign an incredible new marketing partner. I need to pinch myself.
"I'm so blessed to be driving this car and to have such an awesome group of people behind me making it happen, and that now includes everyone at Transportation Impact. We spent some time at their facility, and I told everyone we met we're going to do everything we can to get them a championship this year."