Jason Leffler Killed In Dirt Race
Driver Jason Leffler, 37, died Wednesday night after a crash in a 410 sprint car race at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey.
Leffler, who competed in all of the top three NASCAR national series, had to be extricated from his sprint car after it flipped during a heat race. He was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m. at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
According to reports, he was running in second place in the first heat of the program at the 0.625-mile, high-banked dirt oval when his car flipped several times on the front straightaway. It then hit the wall at least once.
After state police arrived on the scene, the track announced the rest of the races had been canceled.
Leffler made 73 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, finishing last in his final event after completing eight laps Sunday at Pocono Raceway. He won twice in the Nationwide Series and once in the Camping World Truck Series.
“NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler, who passed away earlier this evening,” NASCAR said in a statement. “For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed.”
Leffler also made three IndyCar Series starts, finishing 17th in the 2000 Indianapolis 500.
He was also a highly successful USAC driver. Leffler won three consecutive USAC Midget championships from 1997-99 before following mentor Tony Stewart’s path into NASCAR. Stewart-Haas Racing, owned by Stewart, tweeted, “Thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Jason Leffler. A good man; a good racer.
Panther Racing managing partner and CEO John Barnes released the following statement on the passing of Leffler, who started several Silver Crown races for Panther Racing in 2004-2005:
“I was shocked to hear tonight about the passing of Jason Leffler. Jason was a friend and former driver of Panther Racing. He was one of the most versatile drivers I have ever met. He reminded me so much of Parnelli Jones. We will miss his fierce competitive spirit and his devilish attitude. He constitutes the old saying, ‘It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.’ Jason was a small man with a huge right foot. Our prayers go out to his entire family, and especially his son Charlie. He will be forever missed.”
The Long Beach, Calif., native, who was affectionately known as “lefTurn” and had the nickname stenciled above his driver’s side window, leaves behind a 5-year-old son, Charlie.
“We were saddened to learn of the passing of Jason Leffler,” said Pat Warren, president of Kansas Speedway. “Jason was a significant part of Kansas Speedway’s history, winning the first pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at our facility. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jason’s family, especially his son Charlie, and his friends.”No Comment