Hampton hoops star Owens wins on the race track

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Jul 31, 2018 at 9:14 PM

Dru Owens was a force on the basketball court for the Hampton High School Bulldogs last season, averaging 21 points per game and landing on the 2017-18 Johnson City Press/Kingsport Times News All-Northeast Tennessee team.

On Sunday, Owens powered his way down the drag strip, winning the Junior Dragster, Division 3 race in the DER Bracket Series at Bristol Dragway.

After a season plagued by rainouts and shortened weekends, the DER Bracket Series finally got some good weather over the weekend.

It was good news for Owens, who back in May signed to play college basketball at Lees-McRae. He had a solid effort at the tree and down the track to defeat Macey Oxentine of Mountain City in the final round.

Owens was better at the starting line with a .037 to .091 advantage on reaction time and then paired it with a 7.944 elapsed time at 79.160 miles per hour against a 7.93 dial-in time to get the win.

While he ran unopposed in the semifinals, it wasn't an easy path to the finals. He had to beat two-time track champion Ethan Ford of Jonesborough in a closely contested race in round three and his brother, Josh Owens, in round four.

Other Junior Dragster winners on Sunday were Brayden McCown in Division 1 and Brandon Nuttall in Division 2.

In the big cars, Aaron Roberts was the featured Super Pro winner. Other Sunday winners were: Brandon Bailey (Pro), Ed Cannon (Sportsman) and CJ Elsea (Trophy). Six-time track champion Jerry Turner captured the win in the Motorcycle division.

Elizabethton driver Rodger Hughes headlined the list of Saturday race winners. Hughes had a .006 reaction time and drove his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air to a 6.304-second elapsed time at 105.32 mph in the Super Pro final.

Harry Eleas (Pro), Brian Dunnigan (Sportsman), Eric Colley (Trophy) and Bryce Acuff (Motorcycle) also scored wins, while the Junior Dragster winners were Forrest Radford (Division 1), Blake Combs (Division 2) and John Brown (Division 3).

The DER Bracket Series has the next few weeks off before returning on Sept. 14-16. Bristol Dragway has the Thunder Valley Street Fights scheduled Saturday with gates opening at 5 p.m. and racing to begin at 6. East 10 Drift is also on hand with a drifting competition scheduled in the parking lot between the speedway and the dragway.


While Bristol Dragway finally got some good luck with the weather, the woes continued at Volunteer Speedway. The track's entire July schedule was wiped out by rain, including last Saturday's scheduled weekly program at the 4/10-mile dirt track.

Volunteer Speedway officials announced Monday its August schedule would be altered with the decision to cancel the 14th annual Scorcher scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16. It came after the announcement by Bristol Motor Speedway it would be changing its original Wednesday date for the NASCAR Truck Series UNOH 200 to that Thursday.

Weekly racing is scheduled to return to the Bulls Gap track this Saturday with features for Crate Late Model, Sportsman Late Model, Open Wheel Modified, Modified Street, Classic and Street Stock divisions. In addition, it's Dollar Dawg Night with $1 hot dogs in the concession stands.


Tom Lambert of Gray won races in both the 35+ and 40+ divisions last Saturday in the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series at I-81 Motorsports Park.

Matthew Wilcox of Johnson City swept 450D motos, while Hunter Ford of Church Hill won the 250D race. Tyler Orfield was the Pro division winner.

Jake Hillman of Jonesborough led the local youth riders with a win (51cc Beginner) and a runner-up finish (51cc 4-6).

Madison Hensley of Johnson City was the runner-up in the Women's division and Andrew Carver of Jonesborough posted a second-place run in the Schoolboy division.

The Hot Summer Nights Series races in Forest City, N.C., on Saturday before returning to I-81 Motorsports Park on Aug. 11.


Kingsport Speedway has twin 35-lap Late Model Stocks headlining this week's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program at the 3/8-mile concrete oval.

Nik Williams has been the driver to beat lately. The Chuckey driver is running one of the new Harrington engines in his No. 32 Chevrolet and they're producing more horsepower than the earlier Chevy and Ford crate engines.

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