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TORC Off-Road - Navarro Ready For Next Challenge

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JOLIET, Jul. 19, 2012: Reigning SCORE Lites Champion, and Clemson University engineering student, Rafael Navarro IV will make his second start in the Traxxas TORC Series, presented by AMSOIL, Thursday and Friday night in the No. 9 Chad Hord Racing Nissan Frontier Pro Light at Chicagoland Speedway/Route 66 Raceway. The nighttime doubleheader culminates with live coverage of day two’s action, this Friday, July 20, on SPEED at 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT.

Navarro IV, who turned 19 years-old in May, is making just his second start in a Pro Light truck but brings extensive road racing and off-road racing experience to the Traxxas TORC series. He made his Traxxas TORC and career truck racing debut last month at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway in Wisconsin and finished fourth in the Sunday finale after running as high as third. The result made up for an 11th place finish in Saturday’s muddy and rain-soaked opener at Crandon where Navarro IV struggled to see even a few feet in front of him when he ran out of tear-offs.

“Sunday at Crandon was a much better day,” said Navarro IV, who is known in racing circles as ‘Cuatro’ or ‘R4.’ “It was dry and dusty, something that as a desert racer I'm am more than familiar with. I started in 11th position, based on my finishing result from Saturday's mud fest but was up to sixth by a scheduled competition yellow. Right at the restart I jumped into fifth with a better restart than the driver in front of me. After that I was on the tail of the third and fourth place drivers and as they were battling it out I was just staying focused ready to pounce on any mistake that either of them would make. Going into the Aragon corner, the driver in third took the inside line and spun out and I went around him taking a fight for third to Keegan Kincaid.”

Cuatro was in contention for a podium finish in his Traxxas TORC debut weekend but had to back off when his Nissan Frontier began to overheat.

“We ran hot all weekend and struggled to keep the engine and transmission cool, it crept up on me toward the later part of the race and the truck started to smoke and lose a lot of power,” Navarro said. “No matter how much I closed on Kincaid, he'd pull on me on the straights because I couldn’t keep giving it full power. The needle on the oil temperature gauge was completely wrapped around, pegged past the maximum limit. By then I knew I needed to conserve the truck and just finish the race, so I began to short shift and go easy on the throttle and in the end I was able to save the motor and finish fourth.”

Cuatro was pleased with his Sunday result and the overall effort and performance of his Nissan and the Chad Hord Racing crew all weekend at Crandon.

“The truck was handling great from practice on and all we had to do were a few slight changes to the rebound in the shocks,” Navarro said. “This was the truck’s maiden voyage, so to only be hampered by overheating issues it was a pretty good outing. We did a few at-the-track changes and the crew never quit working on solutions. I was so happy with the Sunday finish because I made up a lot of ground from the previous day’s race, more of a true showing of the capabilities in the truck. I'd like to call Sunday's race at Crandon my first true race in the truck and I want to thank Nissan and Chad Hord Racing for all of the support and giving me this great opportunity and the best equipment possible. Also big thanks to the Chad Hord crew for pulling an all-nighter on Saturday to repair damage from Saturday. I can't thank them enough for that and look forward to working with everybody on the team again this week.”