Martin Skok, Sr. was the owner-developer of the “ELGIN PISTON PIN SPECIAL” race car that raced at the Indianapolis 500 in 1926-1928, 1936-1941, 1946, and 1953, finishing as high as fourth place on three occasions. In 1953, the car was driven by Jim Rathmann in La Carrera Panamericana (The Pan American), a nine stage, five-day race that traversed Mexico (widely considered the most dangerous event of its day). As the owner of Elgin Industries, Skok was a constant developer, fabricator, and rebuilder of new and improved engine parts, which greatly advanced the car engines used in all of the major races, especially the piston pin. This innovation was critical to the success of many drivers, such as ESHOF inductee Ken Barnhart.
Because of his innovating, Skok became a known leader in the racing community. In 1933, AAA Indy race teams accepted the invitation to come to the Elgin Road Race (part of Chicago’s World Fair), which was scheduled as the only road race in the United States. After the funds for the cash prize disappeared, Skok financed the event. In the early 1950’s. Skok partnered with Dick Doan Chevrolet to build and promote a stock car in a variety of races. This led to a business relationship with Andy Granatelli, who was to become one of the best-known engine builders, team owners and promoters in racing.