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Justin Owen, a sprint car racer from Harrison, Ohio, died Saturday of injuries sustained in a crash during qualifying for a USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship race at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana. He was 26.

Owen had been making his qualifying run on Saturday evening when his car jumped out of the groove upon the entry to Turn 3, sending it into a violent collision with the outside wall. Owen's car then overturned, spinning several times in mid-air before coming to an abrupt landing in the middle of Turns 3 and 4.

The remainder of the night's event was cancelled following Owen's accident. His death was confirmed by USAC shortly after midnight on Easter Sunday.

Owen, who had a decade of sprint car racing experience, was a local competitor at Lawrenceburg who was attempting to qualify for his third feature start in USAC's events at the speedway. Owen had been coming off of his first track championship in 2022, which included two feature wins including the track's prestigious Dick Gaines Memorial. Owen had also won races at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania and Paragon Speedway in Indiana.

"Our hearts are broken and we are at a loss of words. It's hard to comprehend why a beautiful soul like Justin's was needed so soon," read a statement by Lawrenceburg Speedway. "Love one another and provide comfort and kindness as the entire racing community tries to understand and heal.

"Our deepest condolences to Justin's family, his fiance, team and many friends. Our thoughts & prayers are with you."

Owen's accident elicited reactions from the top levels of racing, including from NASCAR Cup Series star and Indiana native Chase Briscoe. Tony Stewart Racing, the sprint car team owned by the star driver, also issued a statement on Owen's death.

Owen's death marks the first fatality in USAC in nearly seven years. The last driver to die in a USAC-sanctioned event was former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Bryan Clauson, who was killed in an accident at the Belleville Midget Nationals in August of 2016.