Impact Racing retains right to sell in NASCAR
Impact Racing, the Indianapolis racing safety product company owned by motorsports safety pioneer Bill Simpson, has obtained a court injunction to keep its certification from the SFI Foundation to sell race gear for the time being.
U.S. District Court Judge Larry McKinney in Indianapolis issued the injunction Monday.
The injunction prohibits the SFI Foundation – a group of which NASCAR is a member and which sets standards for the safety of uniforms, head-and-neck restraints, seat belts and other products – from terminating its contract with Impact to certify Impact products. If the contracts had been terminated, NASCAR teams would no longer have been able to buy several Impact products because NASCAR requires many safety products to meet certain SFI standards.
SFI has accused Impact in two separate lawsuits of buying counterfeit HANS Device clips to put on helmets and for purchasing fake SFI certification labels to put on uniforms. SFI sells the labels to fund its research, according to court documents.
Simpson has blamed and sued Darren Swisher, his former firesuit production manager, for purchasing the counterfeit labels and said he had no knowledge of the purchases, according to court documents.
SFI alleges that Simpson directed Swisher to buy the counterfeit labels to cut costs.
Impact has countersued SFI, in part for a news release stating that a used Impact uniform failed a fire-resistance test. Impact claims the used firesuit may have been altered through handling or laundering since the time it had been sold.
Earlier this year, SFI was going to decertify Impact products already in the marketplace but dropped that quest on products manufactured since 2009 when it was convinced that products with fraudulent labels were not on those items.
Impact was given the opportunity to appeal to the SFI board of directors the decision to decertify Impact products already in use but was not given the opportunity to appeal the termination of its contracts. McKinney ruled Monday that Impact had a right to an appeals process to the SFI board of directors over the termination of the contracts, and therefore the contracts could not be terminated until it goes through that appeals process to the SFI board. The judge, who is handling the case of the counterfeit labels, did not rule on who was to blame for the fraudulent labels.
SFI, on its website, indicated that Impact would be given a "meaningful opportunity to be heard" over the termination of its contracts.
Impact has stated in court documents that since SFI’s lawsuit was filed in March the manufacturer has lost contracts with race teams and laid off 32 of its 82 employees. SceneDaily.com