Sprint car driver Justin Owen, 26, dies after his car crashed during Indiana race

Posted by Larita Shotwell on Friday, February 2, 2024

A sprint car driver has died from his injuries after his car crashed into a wall and flipped multiple times during a qualifying race in southeastern Indiana.

Justin Owen, 26, from Harrison, Ohio, was a longtime race car driver who was the reigning track champion at Lawrenceburg Speedway with two feature wins and the title in 2022.

On Saturday night, his car struck the outside wall and flipped several times along the third turn in a qualifying race for the AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at Lawrenceburg Speedway, the U.S. Auto Club (USAC) announced. 

The remainder of the event was canceled following the crash. 

Sprint car driver Justin Owen, 26, of Harrison, Ohio, died from injuries he suffered when his car crashed during a qualifying race at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana on Saturday night

Sprint car driver Justin Owen, 26, of Harrison, Ohio, died from injuries he suffered when his car crashed during a qualifying race at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana on Saturday night

Early Sunday morning, Owen's mom Marita changed her profile picture to a photo of herself and Owen, who died of his injuries sustained in Saturday night's horrific crash

Early Sunday morning, Owen's mom Marita changed her profile picture to a photo of herself and Owen, who died of his injuries sustained in Saturday night's horrific crash 

Owen's car struck the outside wall and flipped several times along the third turn in a qualifying race for the AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at Lawrenceburg Speedway

Owen's car struck the outside wall and flipped several times along the third turn in a qualifying race for the AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at Lawrenceburg Speedway

Really hope Justin Owen is ok after this nasty crash at the Burg. Prayers 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Tj4493HaZ9

— Black Box Golf (@putterthrow) April 8, 2023

Owen's title in 2022 was his first crown at the 3/8-mile dirt oval where he competed in the sprint car division for the past several seasons, USAC said in a news release, in which it offered support to his family.

'USAC expresses its deepest condolences to Justin's family, team and many friends throughout the racing community,' the organization said.

Among his top achievements were a victory in the season-closing Dick Gaines Memorial during his Lawrenceburg championship season in 2022, USAC said. 

Video and photos from the event Saturday night show the moment Owen's car crashed

Video and photos from the event Saturday night show the moment Owen's car crashed

In what appears to be his last Facebook post, Owens captioned this photo on Saturday as 'Raceday here at the Burg with USAC Racing' followed by the 'rock on' hand sign emoji

In what appears to be his last Facebook post, Owens captioned this photo on Saturday as 'Raceday here at the Burg with USAC Racing' followed by the 'rock on' hand sign emoji 

In 2019, Owen had three victories, at the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series at Pennsylvania's Lernerville Speedway, his second victory in the event after one in 2016; at Indiana's Paragon Speedway; and at Lawrenceburg's Night of Champions event.

With USAC, Owen made two feature starts, both at Lawrenceburg, in 2019 and 2021.

Tributes began to pour out for the young star from the racing community, as well as his family and friends.

His fiancĂ© Kenzie Knapp updated her profile picture late Saturday night to one of them kissing, with the caption: 'i love you more than you'll ever know.'

His fiancé Kenzie Knapp updated her profile picture late Saturday night to one of them kissing, with the caption: 'i love you more than you¿ll ever know'

His fiancé Kenzie Knapp updated her profile picture late Saturday night to one of them kissing, with the caption: 'i love you more than you'll ever know'

Owen posted this photo in December 2022 with the caption: 'Happy birthday to my FIANCÉ'

Owen posted this photo in December 2022 with the caption: 'Happy birthday to my FIANCÉ'

NASCAR Cup series driver Chase Briscoe wrote on Twitter: 

'Ended up 7th tonight banging the boards, had a lot of fun and appreciated the opportunity. Post race I learned about the passing of Justin Owen, raced against Justin quite a bit in sprint cars. Thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.'

Tony Stewart Racing, which is 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.' 

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