Justin Owen, a sprinter competing in a race in Indiana, has died from injuries sustained in a qualifying accident Saturday night, the US Auto Club (USAC) announced. Owen was 26 years old.
Owen, a longtime sprinter, was racing to qualify for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Championship at Lawrenceburg Speedway. His car collided with the outside wall and flipped several times around the third curve of the road.
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He was the reigning track champion with two notable wins and the title in 2022.
USAC canceled the remainder of the event after the accident.
«USAC extends its deepest condolences to Justin’s family, team and many friends throughout the racing community,» the organization said in a press release.
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Among Owens’ accomplishments was a win at the season-closing Dick Gaines Memorial during his 2022 Lawrenceburg championship season, the USAC said. In 2019, Owen had three wins during the season. His first time was in the Buckeye Outlaw Spring Series at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania. His second at Paragon Speedway in Indiana and at Night of Champions in Lawrenceburg.
Tony Stewart Racing was among those in the racing world who sent their condolences to Owen’s family and friends on social media.
«It’s never easy to remember how quickly things happen in this sport or that we weren’t promised tomorrow. We keep Justin Owen’s family, friends and fans in our prayers. We are so sorry for his loss,» the racing team said. he tweeted.
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Added Chase Briscoe: «Finished seventh tonight pounding the boards, had a lot of fun and appreciated the opportunity. After the race I heard about Justin Owen’s passing, I raced Justin quite a bit in sprint cars. Thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.