As I write this post, I am thinking of the passion I have for NSS racing…the people, the cars, the tracks where we race and the fans who love to see us come. Unfortunately, there is a clear and present danger threatening our sport, targeted solely on NSS racing.
This post is meant to inform you of the actions taken by others and to share their intentions as they have laid it out for us. The NMCA and your rules committee has no intentions of being extorted and bullied into these changes. Based upon the initial input of information we have received, Clay Kossuth, Jim Netherland and myself have resigned from the NSSNA Rules Committee. We will, however, create a new committee to help steer NSS into the future. The NMCA agrees with this plan and will follow the lead of this new committee.
With that on the table, let me go back to the beginning.
As you may know, there is a Nostalgia Super Stock Club in the Chicago/Wisconsin area. This club operates under a match racing format which differs from the index racing many of our NSS racing organizations conduct. Earlier this year, Rich Berlisk and Bob Wilkiewicz, representing the Club, placed a registered trademark on both the terms Nostalgia Super Stock and NSS. The information on this action is available at www.nostalgiasuperstock.com. The trademark application states the request is to protect the name for “educational, entertainment and archival” purposes. When Rich and Bob told me about what they had done (after the fact) and that they had received approval for the registered trademark, I expressed to them it was a bad idea and that I would not stand for any race organization or racer having to pay any monies or sign any releases to use the names Nostalgia Super Stock or NSS. Nothing happened until this week.
Bringing you up to speed this week.
This week, your NSSNA Rules Committee received a letter from Bob Wilkiewicz. Without our knowledge or consent, Rich and Bob have also trademarked the name of our rules committee. The impact of this became apparent immediately in their letter. They began outlining the rules of NSS racing as they saw fit as the new owners of the trademark. This is beyond reproach. NSS racing has always been self-governing and self-policing. As racers, we challenge one another. We argue the points as new racing technology becomes available. Our objective is to come to agreement and make certain the racing is competitive. The racers, along with the NHRA, decide what goes into the rules—thus our cars—and what does not.
Also this week, Bob sent a letter to the NMCA asking them to reach out and negotiate terms to use the names they trademarked: Nostalgia Super Stock and NSS. They have indicated they will do the same to the other race promoters and website administrators. Worse case scenario for us is if the promoters reject their attempts to collect money for use of the name and drop our class from their races. We have no intention for these misguided individuals to come between us and racing.
Negotiating terms with promoters and dictating rules to racers are a far cry from the innocent-sounding trademark application whose stated intent was for “educational, entertainment and archival” purposes.
Your rules committee is working closely with NMCA, consulting NHRA, and have reached out to our own legal counsel to get this hostile takeover of our sport stopped. Our promoters are looking into the legality as well. I will keep you informed as we make progress in this situation.
Clearly, this is about control and greed. We are a group of racers who put our own skin in the game. We work all week to get the chance to race on the weekends. We have invested hard-earned money into our cars. We are too proud of Nostalgia Super Stock racing to allow it to become a puppet race class due to a deceptive trademark maneuver.
What you can do.
If you have thoughts on how we should move forward, please email Clay, Jim or myself. I also suggest you call and email Bob Wilkiewicz firstname.lastname@example.org and Rich Berlisk email@example.com and let them know what you think about their actions.