Region News


By Nick Babin

2020 will go down as certainly the strangest auto-x season in NNJR history, but also as one of the most hotly contested. Despite a very late start due to the pandemic, the NNJR crew managed to put on a full 8 event season. Could James Tatad make it three in a row?

With the season beginning June 28, it was already hot and that was really the theme of the summer months. Ken Houseal came flying out of the gate taking his first of 3 pax wins in the opening event. Tatad and Evan Schikel, along with Houseal co-driver Jon Caserta, also proved to be strong and consistent through the first few events.

Dan Stainbeck took the first of his two pax wins in the second event in July, but ended up missing enough events to end up not a factor in the season points. Ken Houseal missed the second event, which took a crucial drop away from him. Would this prove a factor later on?

Houseal continued a string of strong finishes as the season continued, taking another 2 pax wins along with a second place through events 5-7, seeming to have locked up the championship headed into the final event. The fates had other plans though.

They say that consistency is the key to championships, and despite his strong finishes Houseal missed a pair of events early in the season which ate up his 2 drops. This left the door open in the final event, which was forecast to have rain in the afternoon.

This indeed came to pass, with rain coming in the afternoon when the ST group was running. This decimated the pax positions of the later run group and left both Tatad and Houseal with poor pax placement since the early group got dry runs. Houseal, however, did not have a drop to give, which ended up handing Tatad his amazing third straight NNJR Driver of the Year.

 2020 James Tatad Driver Of The Year