Don’t Let NSS Die

Despite the photo for attention this is a serious post.

For me personally, I have always leaned to more of a purest to the original intent of NSS (Nostalgia Super Stock Drag Racing), which was early 60s mid-size and larger stock appearing cars with the equipment available for that car at the time – except some safety upgrades like disc brakes (and not rack & Pinion Steering!).

In the quest to go faster, the camel got its nose under the tent with Indy and other heavily modified intakes, AVS and Holley carbs, clutchless transmissions, Pony cars, digital ignitions, transbrakes (promised not to be used), belt driven distributors, belt driven timing sets, turbo looking exhaust holes cut into fenders … That in my opinion really wasn’t keeping with the spirit of NSS – and its doubtful any of that will ever be reversed.

Those types of rule morphing did make the cars faster and easier to tune/drive – but in my opinion can’t be used as a legitimate excuse to bringing more cars into the sport. It more pissed off many of those in the Class. It worries me that the camel has gone from the nose under the tent to half of its body in the tent.

On the other hand, NSS does have the big problem of age. More than half of us are over the age of 65, and our time left in racing is limited. Ten years ago, I was a young guy in the class. We all can name at least ten (Skippy, Midle, Charlie, Barry, Artis, Lonigan…) formerly active Racers who are now forever gone. The number of young guys to take their place is minimal. In the next five years NSS will most likely lose the greatest number of Racers to date, and it will be even worse five years after that. For the class to survive it needs to bring in new blood faster than it currently losing old blood.

It may be time to for us real old guys to stop worrying so much about what we want the class to be – and think about the legacy of the class’ survival. My personal opinion is that NSS needs to start thinking about being a little more flexible to attract new blood — but not so flexible with modern equipment on old cars. Maybe the class should open up to a few more cars that were Super Stock cars in their day, racing with old school equipment from the day. I know many will cringe when I say that – because I’m cringing – but the Pandora’s Box was opened the day NSS opened up to Compacts and Pony Cars like the Big Block Barracudas, Darts, and AMXs. Again I cringe saying this, but those with Big Block Camaros, Javelins, Mustangs, Cougars, SCramblers, The Machine, Challengers Cudas, and Novas (prior to 1972) asked why not them? Why is a Dart OK – but not a 396 Nova? Why a Barracuda and AMX but not the 396/427 Camaro or 390/428 Mustangs? When the Barracudas, Darts and AMXs came in – the Camel got pretty far into the tent.

Opening up the year to through 71 also has pretty cool Intermediates like Chargers, Super Bees, Road Runners, Coronet R/Ts, 442s, Grand Sports, GTOs, Torino GTs, Montego Cyclones and other mid-size cars just a couple years newer (but still 50 years old) than what we race. Actually, many of those cars are actually older than the Darts, Barracudas and AMXs. While maybe not the Spirit of the Class when it was created in the 80s – neither was some of the rule changes and cars now in NSS This is 30-40 years later – maybe we should think about letting in another 5 years. Fact is that many younger people own more of these cars than the 63-65 B-Bodies that use to be the majority in NSS. Fact is that while most of us prefer the early 60s Intermediates representing the standard, those 10 years younger than us own and race the late 60s Intermediates, Compacts and Pony Cars. Fact also is that those were the Super Stock cars of the late 60s. Younger people just don’t have the attraction to 1965 and older B-Bodies, and never will.

Should we be selfish and let the class die with us – or see that it has an acceptable future? I propose that for the class to continue to survive five and ten years from now when many of us will be gone – that we maybe hold our nose and open it up a little for the pre-72 big block cars that did race Super Stock in the late 60s – rather than any more of these modifying allowances of existing old cars with modern equipment. Stick with the stock interior rule that is the spirit of NSS. Stick with must run the type of big block engine available with the car and style of scoop ran then. Keep the rule for heads, intake and carbs that came with the car in the era. Stop and reverse the digital electronics, exhaust running through fenders, belt driven distributors, carbs not available at time cars were built – and focus on keeping the under hood (actually the whole car in and out) appearance nostalgic.

To bring in new blood, I’d much rather open it up a little to the cars that really ran Super Stock in the 60s than allowing the old cars morph with modern with digital boxes, 5-speeds, clutchless, belt drives and other non-safety Speed and convenience equipment.