DONACLONEY teenager Lee McCracken is enjoying his first season in top flight Hot Rod racing in 2011, and has already competed in his first World Championship.

Having carved out a reputation as one the hottest prospects in the sport whilst racing in the Junior Productions at Nuttscorner Oval until he reached 16, he stepped into the senior ranks at Easter and hasn’t looked back since.

Although it took time to adjust to the cut and thrust of the 2 Litre Hot Rods at the Co. Antrim track, Lee and his family based team have worked hard to prepare both his Vauxhall Corsa and his driving for the big events ahead.

After a shaky start, it all came together in June when he took his first ever race win.

“Getting the first win was such a relief,” said the former Craigavon Senior High pupil. “It took quite a bit to adjust from my front wheel drive Junior to the rear wheel drive and much more powerful Hot Rod, but we got there in the end.

“When you have 30 other cars out on track, all with years of experience, it does take some getting used to.”

Lee’s next milestone was qualifying for this year’s World Championship final, which was staged at Nuttscorner in mid-July. As one of the youngest ever to take part in the event, he managed to qualify for the big World Final itself, albeit in 31st position.

He then drove the race of his life to end up a creditable 13th after the 50 laps.

“It was an amazing experience to take part in the biggest race of the year in front of a huge crowd, and the result was a real bonus,” he said.

Lee hopes to work his way up the ranks in the 2 Litre Hot Rods over the coming years, and to challenge for the major honours at events across the British Isles.

He added, “The aim is to do the best we possibly can in the 2 Litres, but my dream would be to move into the very top class, the National Hot Rods, at some stage in the future.”

Lee is definitely a young man with a very bright future ahead of him in the world of short oval racing, and is one we shall be hearing quite a bit from in the future.

He was quick to praise all the help he gets from his family and friends, and also from his sponsors without whom racing would not be possible - Rumbles Hot Food Bar, A W McCauley Vehicle Maintenance, Bar One Racing, Derek McMillan Commercial Sprayers, Calvin Motorsport, Wash ‘n’ Dash Mobile Truck Wash, McKinstry Skip Hire and McReynolds Race Engines.