HAMPTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Josh Owens, a senior baseball player at Hampton High School.
They couldn’t even break in the new lights.
“It was honestly kind of hard to look at them and think we couldn’t finish out our season under those especially for last year’s seniors I felt bad for them mostly,” Hampton baseball senior Josh Owens said.
2020 could have been a special year for Hampton baseball.
“I think last year we had the best team I’ve seen at Hampton in a lot of years and to start out 3-0 and 2-0 in our scrimmages and just get cut like that it makes you have a different attitude entering this year,” Owens said.
The heartbreak of losing their spring season was tough, but it taught them some valuable lessons.
“Just to not take anything for granted play every game like it could be your last leave it all out there cause you never know when it could end,” Owens said.
Now, the Bulldogs are ready to tear it up this spring.
“I’d love to go to state as a team for Hampton I guess some would say that’s a big goal but I think we can do it with the talent that we have,” Owens said.
They’ll get close with Owens, a stud pitcher with three years of experience under his belt.
I’m very excited I love pitching just where baseball is such a team sport but the pitcher really controls what your team can do I love having that control,” Owens said.
He also takes that control into his other sport: not football or basketball, but drag racing!
“I love it that’s why I like pitching and why I love racing both of them are similar because in pitching you have to keep control of all your pitches whereas in racing you have to keep in control of every component of the car keep on top of what you’re doing at all times to make sure you do as best you can and nothing goes wrong,” Owens said.
“Baseball’s more of a patience game whereas racing you’ve got 5 seconds to go as hard as you can they’re different and similar in some ways like pitching is kinda like drag racing where you’re in control and whatever you do can impact the race and the game,” Owens said.
Owens started racing when he was 11 years old in the Junior Dragsters Series. His dad Felix raced cars for years and he was hooked.
“I was very nervous to start, I didn’t think about winning or anything I thought the worst to come out of it but now that I’ve matured and gone up to faster cars my outlook on it has completely changed, it’s just it’s fun I like the adrenaline rush and the risk of it I think it’s awesome,” Owens said.
He has raced in some pretty high profile races for large cash prizes, and has even raced at the Bristol Dragway.
“Out of all the tracks I’ve been to Bristol is probably the nicest dragstrip in the country maybe in the world it’s amazing to race there especially in an every weekend basis throughout the summer it’s definitely a blessing to do it,” Owens said.
Him and his dad have put together most of his car, which goes up to 200 miles per hour, and there’s another car coming up in the family.
“My little brother he’s 5 years old and drives my old junior dragster too so it’s just like mine but it’s half the size,” Owens said.
Yes, 5-year-old Luke is getting started early.
“We went out in the driveway with his car and asked him if he wanted to do it and he’s always been around watching me and my dad do it so he already loved it so he got in the driveway and did it and fell in love with it and it made my mom nervous at first but now we all love it,” Owens said.
The kid has potential, he’s already pretty good!
“They have age division races for his class like 6-9 year old races 5-9 year old races he’s won 1 so far and it’s like $100 to win but he’s won one,” Owens said.
Josh’s older brothers raced too and he even raced against one of them at Bristol. One day, he’ll have to race against Luke.
“It’s kinda different it’s like playing a scrimmage against your own baseball team in a way like you wanna be competitive but you look over and realize you’re racing against your own brother so either way the family gets a win so it’s kind of a different feeling but it’s awesome,” Owens said.
He hopes to do this drag racing for a long time and wants to make a career out of it.
“Just to keep going as long as I can learn more about it every time I go from my dad and learn from the cars I would love to win a big race like one of the million dollar races or something to get my name out there running like a Top Fuel Dragster and going over 300 mph would be crazy that would be top of the line dream job to do,” Owens said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.