Nfld. & Labrador

Junior dragster Darien Legge speeds to 2nd place in Memphis

The family of an autistic boy from Kelligrews says he will need a bigger, faster race car after placing second in the Junior Dragster category at a recent world competition in Memphis.

Kelligrews boy needs bigger, faster car, says family

Darien Legge, a 10-year-old from Kelligrews, took his dragster to a 2nd place finish at a world competition in Memphis Oct. 11. (Mike James/Eastbound International Speedway)

An autistic boy from Kelligrews is thrilled after a second place finish in the Junior Dragster category at a recent world competition in Memphis.

Darien Legge's mother told CBC they now have to get him a bigger, faster race car.

"I'm extremely proud," said Susan Legge. "It's really the olympics of his sport."  

Other racers called Legge's car 'the little engine that could.' (Photo: Mike James/Eastbound)

Susan Legge and her family were driving back to the province on Wednesday after the International Hot Rod Association (IRHA) world finals in Tennessee.

'The little engine that could'

Legge said Darien won every heat in his category, except the final. She said the 10-year-old competed against older racers in much better cars.

She said they called Darien's car, the Mad Crow, "the little engine that could."

Darien got to meet lots of professional racers, who his family says treated him with respect. (Mike James/Eastbound)

Mike James, event director with Eastbound International Speedway in Avondale, went to Memphis to cheer on Darien.

"I couldn't even move. It was surreal," he said.

"Even the manufacturers were taking pictures of his car, saying we need to help this kid get something better," said James. "If he had a better car, he could have taken the championship."

From unknown, to fan favourite

Susan Legge said race sponsors are buying Darien a race suit, something they normally reserve for champions.

Darien Legge's family says he will need a bigger, faster car for next year. (Mike James/Eastbound)

She said her son met a lot of professional racers, who treated him with respect, and remained cool and focused during competition.

"He went from being a little unknown boy. In the end, the crowds were cheering him on."

The Legges will be back home on Friday evening.  Eastbound's Mike James said the speedway in Avondale hopes to do "something special" for Darien at an event there this weekend.

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