Sprint car driver Justin Owen, 26, killed in horrific crash at Indiana track

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Sprint car driver Justin Owen died of injuries he suffered during a horrific crash in which his car was tossed multiple times during a race in southern eastern Indiana.

The racer who was just 26, from Harrison, Ohio, was competing in a qualifying race Saturday night when he drifted high into the third turn, lost control, and struck the outside wall.

His car went airborne for seconds and flipped several times on the track for USAC’s AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship event at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg.

The US Auto Club (USAC) announced Owen’s death shortly after midnight on Saturday after red-flagging the event at 6.30pm when the crash occurred. It cancelled the remainder of the event.

He entered the event as the reigning track champion at Lawrenceburg with two feature wins and grabbed the title in 2022.

“USAC expresses its deepest condolences to Justin’s family, team and many friends throughout the racing community,” it said in a statement.

His 2022 title win marked his first crown at the 3/8-mile oval where the decade-long sprint car racer was a competitor for several seasons.

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

In 2019, he won three times, securing victories at the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway, another at Indiana’s Paragon Speedway and again at Lawrenceburg’s Night of Champions event.

Among the outpouring of tributes, his fiancé Kenzie Knapp said: “I love you more than you’ll ever know.” She changed her profile picture to a photo of them kissing on Facebook.

Full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Briscoe said he came 7th during the race and learnt about Owen’s death after the race.

“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,” he said.

Tony Stewart Racing, a handle affiliated with three-times NASCAR Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, 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,” it added.