Justin Owen, a veteran sprint car racer from Ohio, died Saturday from injuries he sustained in a massive crash during USAC’s AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship event at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
He was 26.
The Harrison, Ohio-native was in the midst of his qualifying run for the event when he drifted high into Turn 3, lost control and then slammed into the wall. His car then went airborne and flipped several times before coming to rest in the middle of the track. USAC immediately red flagged the event just before 6:30 p.m. when the crash occurred, and 30 minutes later, the series announced the event had been cancelled. They announced Owen’s death shortly after midnight.
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Owen entered this weekend’s event as the reigning track champion at Lawrenceburg Speedway, having grabbed two feature wins and the title in 2022. The victory marked the decade-long sprint car veteran’s first crown at the 3/8-mile oval where he’d long been a competitor in the sprint car division. Owen grew up just 20 minutes north of the track.
According to a release from USAC, Owen’s greatest on-track achievements included a victory in the season-ending Dick Gaines Memorial a year ago during his Lawrenceburg title-winning season. In 2019, he won three times: in the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway, at Indiana’s Paragon Speedway and in Lawrenceburg’s Night of Champions event. He also added a win in 2016 with BOSS at Lernerville. Owen had previously made two feature starts with USAC — both at Lawrenceburg in 2019 and 2021.
NASCAR Cup series driver Chase Briscoe, a southern Indiana native who grew up two hours from the Lawrenceburg track, noted he had raced Owen “quite a bit” in sprint cars. “Thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” Briscoe tweeted.
Tony Stewart Racing, owned by the famed NASCAR and sprint car driver, tweeted: “It’s never easy to be reminded how quickly things happen in this sport or that we’re not promised tomorrow. Keeping the family, friends and fans of Justin Owen in our prayers. We’re so sorry for your loss.”