Rafael Navarro IV Crowned SCORE International SCORE Lites 2011 Champion Saturday Night at Year-End Awards CelebrationClemson University Freshman Also a MasterCraft Safety Rookie of the Year Finalist and Score Toyota Milestone Award Winner
Rafael Navarro IV, an18-year-old Southern California native and Clemson University Freshman, was crowned the 2011 SCORE Desert Series SCORE Lites Class Champion Saturday night at the Atrium Hotel in Irvine, Calif., during the annual SCORE Awards Night season-ending celebration.
Navarro IV – known in racing circles as “R4” or “Cuatro” – clinched the 2011 championship with a fifth-place SCORE Lites finish in last month’s 44th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. He also gave his 2011 title bid a strong boost with a victory in this past June’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Although he was fairly certain that the fifth-place finish in the 1000 was good enough to clinch season honors, R4, and his family and teammates, waited to celebrate the championship until it was officially confirmed last week by SCORE International officials.
“It was such a relief for SCORE to finalize the championship points with my name at the top of the SCORE Lites standings,” Navarro IV said. “I knew we had done enough to win the championship, but with racing you never know. I've been worried since we started the race, but I knew we could get it done. Thank you everyone for all the support.”
In addition to officially being awarded his 2011 class championship, R4 is one of three drivers in the running for the SCORE MasterCraft Safety Rookie of the Year Award. The initial ballot was trimmed to only the three finalists through online voting the last few weeks.
Navarro IV is just one of 21 recipients in the Toyota Milestone Awards program which is presented only to the drivers that have completed all 1,762.02 required competition miles in the 2011 SCORE Desert Series.