Running on Empty By Brandon Fetch

2020 is behind us - looking forward to 2021

Whelp, this is the end. Really, it is.

No seriously. I'm not kidding.

At 11:59:59 December 31st will give way to January 1, 2021.

2020 has finally (FINALLY) arrived at its chronological terminus.

I'm not going to get into what to expect in 2021 (yet) without a minor retrospective on what 2020 brought to the world. Whether it was your own personally notable events that took place in 2020 or those of relatives, friends, or organizations you work with, this year managed to give everyone something others have said would "give us the opportunity to grow as individuals".


We didn't grow as individuals. We grew as members of teams.

Teams that organized and coordinated better with everyone while operating under the necessary distancing restrictions to spurn the spread of a nasty contagion.

I had to remotely corral a group of three siblings to assist with an elderly parent experiencing some health issues. Until I couldn't. Then I had to make the trip back home - driving. 19 hours each way. In the middle of a global pandemic. But that's just my own personal "growth opportunity".

Excuse me while I roll my eyes the hardest they've ever been rolled.

Our region had to "grow" and accommodate state-level constraints on running Solo events. But only after losing the first three events of the season. Our team of Solo operators organized and coordinated to gather the materials necessary to safely put on events, asked for region support in ensuring compliance with state mandates on conduct and behavior, and still managed to put on eight well-subscribed events (within constraints) for a reasonably full season of autocross.

There's no eye rolling from me on this one. There are hearty handshakes and proud back-slapping of the folks who accomplished what they did in a year like 2020. But only after we've had the vaccine distributed far enough to support such human-to-human contact.

Nationally there were even more significant disruption to events. Club Racing had to abandon two of their Hoosier Super Tour weekends in late spring and only managed to reschedule one of them to later in the year. Divisionally we lost two of the planned five Majors races, one of those was our Pocono Major (see the 2021 updates later), though the Pitt Race Major was moved to August and upgraded to a HST.

I will mention in passing the cancellation of the Solo Nationals as that was a huge decision by the National Office, but it was one I believe that was decided appropriately considering the circumstances. Running an event with an anticipated entrant total of 1100+ in September would not have gone over well considering the pandemic situation in Omaha at that time.

Which means one cannot forget this fact: those regions who managed to host events were under significant pressures when it came to adapting and accommodating the necessary state requirements for gatherings upwards of 250 or more people.

This is where the National team deserves some accolades.

Mr. Cobb deserves all the kudos for the team assembled in Topeka and the mission they were tasked with being executed for 2020.

They were able to compile and distribute procedures and documents needed for each program to satisfy the most stringent of state requirements for operating permitted events. We had (nearly) everything we needed to run our Solo events with the only noted absence was a lack of hand sanitizer. But that was something being experienced by everyone everywhere.

The National office is good, but they're not graduates of Hogwarts.

From the bottom of my heart and the rest of the NNJR board, thank you to everyone who participated in any of our events this year (if I speak out of turn you can take it out on the next RE). More so for being collegial and understanding of the obligations everyone had to abide. We wouldn't have had the events we did without participants possessing the integrity to not deviate from these requirements. We were under intense scrutiny to ensure we did everything "by the book" and by golly, everyone read it, understood it, and returned it to the library without a late fine.

On to 2021.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, 2021 looks a lot like what we anticipated for 2020: Solo, a Majors race, a bunch of rallies (fun, competition, & charity). The only deviation is there may even be an exhibition Rallycross come 2021 if things hold out.

The plan currently is to have as strong of a Solo season as we've typically had. The significant addition is a return of the Pro Solo event we had previously lost. Cross your fingers MetLife Stadium helps us keep this on the schedule.
As mentioned above, we are "strongly penciled" in for a Pocono Majors over Memorial Day weekend. I only use quotes as we've not signed a contract or sent any deposit funds but the divisional schedule & National office have been notified of this event. Stay tuned for updates on this from the Race Chairperson.

Our Rally program continues apace and will be more efficient going into 2021. We've confirmed our selection of a rally-focused app named Richta to streamline participation in and the operation of the event itself. If you participated in any timed/competitive 2020 rallies you would have been asked to download and use it as part of your participant check-in process. No longer will an event require the staffing of rally checkpoints and at the conclusion, it's a matter of minutes to determine class results instead of, well, more than that.

This entry of Running On Empty marks my last as Region Exec of NNJR. Peter has agreed to accept the nomination and vote for him as RE from Assistant RE and I believe his plan is to continue his own article. Anticipate seeing his come January. You will most likely see updates from the Race Chairperson (me) as we ramp up our efforts to get the Pocono Majors planned and organized.

Thanks to everyone who supported me as RE these past five (2016-2020) years in our efforts to keep NNJR running as well as it did. I'm looking forward to seeing more of "everyone" in 2021.

Keep the shiny side up,