SOMERS, Conn. (WTNH) — Somers’ very own Todd Owen has been racing since the mid-90s, and he’s spent 24 years behind the wheel.

Last weekend, Owen put the wraps on his 2nd Straight Track Championship at Stafford Motor Speedway. And this weekend, he’ll do the same at the Speedbowl in Waterford. It may look easy now, but it hasn’t always been that way.

“Some people can have one race car, I have to have three to four,” Owen said.

And the number keeps growing.

Owen owns them, builds them, and races them. It beats his former addiction: drinking.

“It was just something I didn’t really see, I didn’t see it in the mirror until people around me started to see it,” he said.

The groundwork was laid when he was 19. Owen’s dad, his best friend, died. It left him on his own to pay the bills, including the mortgage. He and his sister leaned on one another until she passed away too.

“I used alcohol as a way to deal with it,” Owen admitted.

It only made things worse, though. Depression in the family didn’t help either. So one beer turned into two, two turned into too many, and a DWI in 2010 landed him in a jail cell overnight.

“My life was going terribly, everything I had in my life was going downhill, my racing, my personal life, my business life was just going down the tubes,” Owen said.

It took a few years to come to complete grips with the problem at hand. The turning point, he said, was a call from his niece and nephew sometime in 2014.

“It was like a switch hit me and I was like I got to smarten up or they’re going to read about me not being here anymore,” he recalled.

The kids weren’t the only ones worried, and so was his long-time friend and crew chief Frank Collins.

“I was concerned for sure, but I know Todd is a strong person, and if he puts his mind to it he could deal with this by himself,” Collins said.

“You have to first want to help yourself, you can’t have your wife or girlfriend or friends tell you you got to slow down drinking, cause you drink too much,” Owen said. “You got to, got to wake up and say ‘I want to be better.'”

“It’s a tough thing to say that it’s forever,” he added.

Forever has been about eight years now. Owen steers clear of alcohol, much like he avoids trouble on the track. A strong support system helps, and so has any other bubbly beverage.

“This is honest to God the day I stopped drinking beer, I picked up a seltzer water and ask anyone, this is what I’m going to drink, it’s something with bubbles and I can put them back,” he said.

He’s also drinking in success! The 46-year-old is happier than ever on the track, and it shows, with back-to-back track championships at two tracks. This is after none in his first 19 years in an SK Modified.

“We’re proud of him, for the hand he was dealt at such a young age and drinking and battling and to come back and win championships last year,” said Collins.

“I can honestly say from the day I stopped to where I am today, my life has gone from rock bottom to the sky’s the limit,” Owen said.